Dear Mayor Sutcliffe,
The members of the Council on Aging of Ottawa’s Pedestrian Safety and Walkability Sub-Committee were very disappointed to learn at their recent meeting that the updated Winter Maintenance Quality Standards (WMQS) Report from Public Works, requested by City Council several years ago, has been left out of this year’s budget considerations again and won’t be considered until the 2024 city budget.
We know that Public Works continues to refine their Report, developing various financial-based options to the new WMQS policies for your consideration. We have acknowledged that City Roads Services have improved the snow removal services across the city from the 2003 policies, but we also know that clear updated WMQS city policies that are funded and followed will make our winter city safer, pedestrians more secure – and will go a long way to putting Pedestrians First.
This is the sixth year that the Council on Aging Snow Mole Campaign has emphasized winter pedestrian safety and more recently highlighted infrastructure issues with a clear questionnaire to gather data that is shared with the city Roads Services Department.
The collected data has continually shown the need for WMQS policy change, with citizens from across the city sharing their walking experiences leading to priority recommendations listed in the annual Snow Mole – Winter Walking Reports.
In 2022, we described Snow Moles as “patient and persistent” volunteers and have continued to gather data on winter walking conditions. While we remain patient and persistent, we are not passive.
Today, we are increasing the volume of Snow Mole voices and expressing our concerns for this long approval delay. We can point to the real safety concerns in the current city WMQS policies and are requesting a definite date for the budgetary approval process to begin, with a hearing at the city Transportation Committee in 2023.
Board of Directors