We’ve heard the excuses: it’s an unprecedented winter, the rapid freeze caught everyone off guard, it would cost too much to clear the sidewalks like you cleared yours….

Well, I’ve heard that the sidewalks around Dalhousie University were in good condition, so after the council meeting this afternoon, I went to check them out. Here’s my journey.

First, I went out to catch the #1 on Barrington Street, just outside the Grand Parade, arguably the city’s most high-profile sidewalk. I would think, anyway, that the full resources of sidewalk ice removal would be firstly directed to the sidewalk outside City Hall. But here’s the condition of the sidewalk.

Looking south from the bus stop:

City Hall 1

Looking north from the bus stop:

City Hall 2

I took the bus to the northeast corner of Spring Garden Road and Robie Street, and crossed the intersection. The pedestrian island in the intersection was not cleared at all, but I didn’t take a picture of it for fear of losing my balance on the ice and sliding under the wheels of a passing vehicle.

I then walked southward along Robie Street. The sidewalk was in the horrible shape every other sidewalk in the city is in, except for the couple of houses where residents had spent the extra time to address the ice themselves:

Robie 1
Robie 2

But then I turned west on University Avenue, and walked the four blocks on the north side of the street to the library, crossed the street, then walked on the south side of the street back towards Robie. I pulled into the coffee shop in the computer science building to write this post. The entire route was eight blocks of completely ice-free sidewalks. Given the fright I’ve experienced the last two weeks, this was an amazing experience:

Dal 1
Dal 2
Dal 3
Dal 4
Dal 5
Dal 6
Dal 7

If Dal can do, so too should the city be able to keep the sidewalks ice-free. Sure, there might be some exceptions for tight and difficult places, but this isn’t a matter of exceptions: sidewalks in front of City Hall itself, and on main streets like Robie, aren’t cleared.

There is no excuse.


Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Re: icy sidewalks and walking conditions in Halifax. It feels like non one is at the controls for snow removal in whatever department that is. Like everyone just going off in every direction nilly willy with no particular goal in mind. A decided lack of will and leadership from someone in charge. Can it be the symptom of “contracting out” the service, instead of being an inhouse responsibility?

  2. Clear sidewalks is definitely one of the perks of working at Dal. I was downtown last night and University/Morris between the VG and Queen St are some of the worst sidewalks I have seen yet.

  3. I can understand many sidewalks on residential streets not getting done well or right away but the condition of Barrington and Spring Garden is horrible. Those two streets are arguably the 2 busiest pedestrian streets in the city and should be a top priority. Instead it looks like they were done once right after the storm and then totally ignored. But not unexpected in a city that doesn’t think pedestrians matter.

  4. Clearly Dal has some weather-suppression field that does not give “impossible to deal with” snow and ice that the rest of us got.

    Or maybe they just aren’t grossly incompetent and/or underfunded.