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"Well, it will be $300 to remove the snow, sir."


TRIBE Member
I was at work and it started snowing hard so I figured I should eat some hearty food, food from the sea, with broth.

So my friend and I and a person I met while looking for a taxi, went to a Portuguese restaurant. "Tony", the regular server, knew that we wanted wine, Jaegermeister, mussels, the house bread, and dipping oil.

So all that went well and upon walking home I find a notice sticking out my mailbox:

"blah blah blah your sidewalk is not shovelled unless you do it in 24 hours we will do it for you to the tune of $300 blah blah blah."

Well, I throw up my arms. First of all, it's not "MY" sidewalk, though I do pay the taxes to put it there. And on that note, my taxes should be the money that pays to clean it. Much like a city will take care of its trees, they should take care of their sidewalks.

Well, not so much it happens. A guest called one of our crack dealers and after he showed up, that sort of calmed me down, or made me more level headed than the portuguese wine and Jaegermeisters we were shuffling just hours before.

So I called up the guy: interestingly enough they do put their own phone numbers on the notice. Voice mail as it was late by now:

me> "Hey (guy with German name), I'm going out now to clear the sidewalk according to the bylaws you've mentioned here in the note, but I can see that it's still snowing heavily and the forecast is calling for even more, so, I don't want to see another note from you saying I haven't done my diligence."

Well, I didn't shovel myself but I hired someone to do it immediately, while I went back to my couch for some more beer and hoots or lines or whatever was available.

Ended up in a conversation with a weirdo about how "flapping your car's doors can make it drive faster..."

Anyway, couple days later I'm at work and the sidewalk nazi phones me on my work phone.

me> "Hello (work name) this is Jeff."
sidewalk nazi> "Hello this is CZ. Is this Jeff?"
me> "Yeah just said it is Jeff. What company are you calling from?"
CZ> "Well this is CZ from the city of kitchener phoning, responding to your VM from the other night." People who don't care about dates always say "the other night", though usually for me, it's "other day".
me> "Oh. " vague memories "Well, thank you."
CZ> "So, we've posted another notice to your house following the 24 hour grace, and I received your voice mail and...."
me> "Look I told you I shovelled it and then it was snowing so I want another notice."
CZ> "Yes I can respect that however, to respond to your voicemail, the sidewalk does need to be shovelled to the cement and the entire width, so..."
me> thinking this guy obviously doesn't know the difference between cement and concrete
me> "Well, if the bill is $300, I mean, it's only maybe 10m of sidewalk. Can't you hire some teenagers to shovel it?"
CZ> "Ha, yes, but you see we have to bring out some equipment and.."
me> "You don't need equipment, you need a teenager and a shovel, they work for $10 total. Done it before."
CZ> "Well, we operate equipment for this purpose and to come there and.."
me> "You mean you're unionized, basically."
CZ> "Yes that's true but .."
me> "Well, I hope they're paying you well if I'm gonna be paying $300 to get my 10m of sidewalk shovelled."
CZ> laughs "Yes I do well. But you see..."
me> "Look if you want your sidewalk you can take it. I don't need or want it. Is it city property or my property? You should be bloody happy I mow it in the summer."
CZ> silence
CZ> "So, you don't plan to clear it?"
me> "I plan to end this conversation, I'm at work actually making money."

Which I sort of regretted saying, except it was going on a Saturday, so I knew I had time, as these fuckers do nothing on the weekend.

Luckily my other roommate was fucked up on crystal meth and had it in her to bust up all the ice and shovel shit so, I guess I'm in the clear.

But seriously, if I pay property taxes and don't want or use a sidewalk, why the hell am I on the line to clear it?

Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room
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TRIBE Member
In a round-about way, I think this topic deserves more attention.

Perhaps there are some legal or civil defense type persons who could appreciate the following question academically:

"When (or why) does public land become a private liability?"

It isn't that I mind clearing the snow and subsequent ice, on my own time. No. It's that a governmental institution is forcing me to labour on their property, and administering all liability to me.

Oh, I recognize the "choose your battles" type concept, and as far as that goes, this is a minor battle, which is why I ultimately complied. But it leaves the bitter undertone:

The government claims it's their property, yet I am responsible to maintain it.

A very fair settlement would be this:

me> "Hello city. This is my property, I will maintain it as I see fit."


city> "Hello Jeff, this is our property, we will maintain it as we see fit."

But the reality is:

city> "Hello Jeff, this is our property, and you will maintain it at your expense as we see fit."

Kind of smacks of totalitarianism, or slippery slope, to me.

To the city then, should they bill me $300 to clear such a small piece of their sidewalk, I believe I should send them invoices for every time I clear it at my expense. That, or allot me the property in full. Or deduct the clearance labour from my taxes.


Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
This is a manifestation of the Transfer Payment System. Instead of your taxes being used to ensure service levels in your backyard are met, the money is taken and spent in places like Quebec, and the other motherfucking spoiled brats in Confederation.

Full Disclosure - I live in a part of Toronto where the walks get plowed by the City. But the point stands. This City/Province every year sends billions to Queens Park/Ottawa that won't be reasonably returned.

PS - Be nice, clear your ice.