Record snowfall
in Mississauga,
city plows leave
residents “walled in”

di Priscilla Pajdo del January 20, 2022

TORONTO - Mississauga residents are still recovering after digging out of the first major snowfall in 2022. During the weekly press conference, Mayor Bonnie Crombie confirmed that many parts of the city experienced an accumulation of 45 cm of snow, the most in a single day since 1944. While residents went straight to work digging out their driveways and walkways, many would have to wait days until city plows dug out their street.

Many residents felt a sense of accomplishment after clearing all that snow from their driveways. That feeling quickly changed to anger once the city’s plows drove by leaving a solid wall of hardened boulders of snow at the bottom of their driveway, otherwise known as a windrow. It didn’t help matters when the plows went through some residential streets late Wednesday night leaving windrows that would harden to ice when temperatures dropped to -17 degrees Celsius.

While Mayor Crombie praised the City’s winter maintenance crews for their snow clearing efforts from major and secondary roads, that didn’t help residents staring at the blockade of snow trapping them on their property. The Mayor confirmed that the city has looked into equipment that would clear the windrows, adding “it is very costly and frankly will not cover all our streets”. No consolation if you reside on one of those streets.

But, there is some hope for some eligible residents willing to pay a little more. The City offers a Driveway Windrow Snow Clearing Program for Mississauga residents who are over the age of 65 or for people with physical disabilities (verified by a regulated health professional). To qualify for the program, eligible residents must not have another person without a physical disability living at the same address.

The catch? The program costs $200 to apply and is available to only 300 participants. However, the program is free for those who meet certain criteria. Such criteria requires that total net household income not exceed the Statistics Canada low income cut-off.

For the lucky 300 participants who qualified this year, the City will clear a 3-meter space in the windrow at the entrance of each participant’s driveway every time the city plows drive by (up until March 28, 2022). They do not clear the whole driveway. They only clear enough of the windrow (the snow the city plows left in front of your property) to allow space for one vehicle to pass through.

Unfortunately, applications have closed for this year. Therefore, eligible residents will not be able to access the program for the remainder of this season and will have to dig themselves out from the mountain of snow. As for planning ahead for the 2022/2023 driveway windrow snow clearing program, the application process will open in the summer of 2022.

For the rest of Mississauga residents who do not qualify anyway (whether disabled or aged), get the shovels ready. Mickey Frost, the City’s director of works operations and maintenance confirmed that, as part of business planning and budget process, “consideration was given to include clearing windrows as one of our service levels, but they are not included because of the significant cost.”

Photo credit: P.Pajdo

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