Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 11, 2023
Ask not what your city can do for you…
As we sit here surrounded by mounds of snow waiting for the next dump, it’s time to address the infuriating issue of unshovelled sidewalks. Every pedestrian who traverses our city, be it for transportation, exercise, or leisure, knows that the state of our sidewalks in winter is a complete disaster, especially in residential areas. While most property owners diligently shovel their portion of the walkway, there are always a few self-righteous, able-bodied laggards who refuse to do their civic duty.
It’s mind-boggling that some folks have the audacity to claim they don’t use the sidewalks, so why bother clearing them? What kind of backwards thinking is that? Everyone who owns property or works on behalf of someone who does has a collective responsibility to optimize public safety, including keeping sidewalks safe and accessible for everyone. We have an aging population, we’re supposed to be walking more and relying on cars less, and walking is essential for our mental and physical well-being. Yet, these lazy snow shovelling scofflaws obstruct us from taking full advantage of the benefits of walking.
Sure, we can rely on local government to enforce the law and issue bills to those who refuse to shovel their sidewalks. However, it’s not that simple. Cities have started ticketing these snow-shovelling delinquents, but the process is slow and ineffective, and the repeat offenders continue to pose a hazard to pedestrians. It’s high time we streamline the complaint process, implement stricter penalties, and make sure these lazybones realize that their actions have consequences.
Furthermore, let’s not forget that lack of physical ability or being away are not legitimate excuses for failing to shovel one’s portion of the sidewalk. There are always ways to get it done, even if it means hiring someone to do it or asking a neighbour for help. It’s time for these able-bodied laggards to stop making excuses and start taking responsibility for their property.
In conclusion, let’s make it clear that ensuring safe and accessible sidewalks is not just a seasonal complaint, it’s a fundamental aspect of public safety, accessibility, and quality of life for all members of the community. We need to hold these lazy, righteous able-bodied laggards accountable and remind them that their inaction has real consequences for the rest of us. So grab a shovel, roll up your sleeves, and let’s clear those sidewalks! (AI)
Letter to the Editor, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 16, 2023
MacKay on the money
We loved Graeme MacKay’s Saturday cartoon depicting the home with lots of proactive political lawn signs but a sidewalk that is piled with snow, blocking the passage of an elderly pedestrian. It’s easy to have high standards on social justice if one doesn’t have to do anything real like shovelling your sidewalk!
Gretchen Harris, Hamilton