Well-intentioned deed leaves Calgary man snowed in on own street

A good deed from a neighbour has made its mark on a northeast Calgary residential street, and has left one homeowner to try and dig out.

Following a pre-Christmas snowfall that saw between 20 to 40 centimetres of snowfall in the city, a resident on 44 Avenue N.E. used their own Bobcat to clear the road.

“One of the neighbours was doing the street a favour because of the issues with the snow, and didn’t consider where he was piling the snow,” Garry Schmidt said.

He was surprised when he arrived at his Highland Park home to find a massive snow pile blocking his driveway and sidewalk.

The snow pile is blocking the driveway and sidewalk of Garry Schmidt in N.E. Calgary.
The snow pile is blocking the driveway and sidewalk of Garry Schmidt in N.E. Calgary. Adam MacVicar / Global News

“It was kind of like, who was the idiot that did this,” Schmidt said.

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Left puzzled by the situation, he called the City of Calgary to try and get rid of the snow pile.  Schmidt also submitted a request for assistance into 311.

According to Schmidt, who has been trying to sell the home since March, officials told him that the city does not clear snow from residential streets.

“Talking with them over the phone, I don’t think they understood the size of the pile that was left in front of my driveway,” he said.

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Calgary Community Standards confirmed to Global News that officials are aware of the complaint, which has been deemed a priority because the snow pile impacts accessibility.

Officials wouldn’t say whether the city would step in to help clear the pile, but said the pile might be in violation of certain city bylaws.

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City bylaws state that the owner or occupant of property adjacent to a street may remove ice and snow from the sidewalk adjacent to the property and place it on the street, but cannot remove ice or snow from the rest of the property and place it on the street.

“In this case, the neighbouring driveway falls under the definition of ‘street’ within the bylaw, and it being blocked as such would be a violation of the bylaw,” City of Calgary communications planner, Jennifer Chiesa said.

According to the City of Calgary, private equipment is not permitted to plow snow on the road right of way.

“It’s a safety reason, there could be damage caused to the roads, to the sidewalk, to private property, private vehicles,” City of Calgary roads spokesperson, Chris McGeachy said. “Also, as we’re seeing in this case, they’ve piled the snow sky high in front of somebody’s driveway, which is not too good.”

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Luckily for Schmidt, his neighbour has offered to help clear the snow pile, albeit it may take a few days.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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