Prince Rupert residents took matters into their own hands on Jan. 5, armed with a metal shovel and crowbar to chip away at thigh-high ice mountains blocking the accessible crosswalk located at 3rd Ave and 2nd Street in the downtown core.
Passers-by Francois Castro and Kirk Denning lent helping hands by chipping away at the ice berm leftover from snow plowing, blocking the accessible crosswalk in the downtown core for more than two weeks.
Calls to the City of Prince Rupert by downtown business staff reporting falls and requesting clearance of the crosswalk heading across 3rd Ave. from business to the Northern Health offices in Ocean Center Mall went unreturned on Jan. 5. Pedestrians were witnessed trying to climb over the berms to cross the road.
Denning, who lent a hand in clearing the walkway, told The Northern View he had tried to take his senior citizen mom to an optometrist appointment along the street in the morning. However, he could not easily gain access for her to the sidewalk due to the compressed ice and snow piles lining the street.
He returned in the afternoon to make sure others had access, and the pedestrian crossing was clear.
City of Prince Rupert Communications Manager, Veronika Stewart, told the Northern View on Jan. 4, which was before the actions of Denning and Castro, that over the holidays, the city had every available body out providing 24-hour snow removal service to address the significant amount of snow received this year.
“We’ve had additional challenges this year posed by the cold and flu season, the holidays, and the melt/freeze cycle, but are doing our best with the resources we have,” she said.
Recognizing they were working with limited staff and equipment capacity, the city has hired three additional local contractors to assist.
“Going ahead, we will continue to focus on ice control, as well as widening laneways and using loaders and dump trucks to remove snow. We encourage drivers and pedestrians alike to proceed with extreme caution while we work on improving conditions,” she said.
The City of Prince Rupert is posting notices on their social media page of specific streets with times they will be receiving plowing and snow clearing.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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