Trent Ernst, Editor
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but winter is in full swing out there.
I don’t know how you’d have not noticed, though, unless you haven’t opened your eyes for the last month, at which point in time you couldn’t be reading this editorial, could you? Gotcha, Mr. Smarty-pants.
Indeed, last week saw the first real snowfall of the winter, too.
Which meant that public works was out in full force clearing the snow, and the public was out in full force, complaining about how they cleared snow.
The usual complaint: they plow the street, but they block my driveway. My usual reaction: deal with it. But recently I happened across a more nuanced discussion. It goes like this: you want better snow removal? Then expect to pay more in taxes.
The District does a fine job of snow removal, especially when compared to other jurisdictions around the area. Last year, while driving in Fort St. John, I hit a rut so deep that it physically pushed my vehicle sideways into the next lane. Fortunately it was a deserted road but it scared the hoohee outta me.
But fine is not the same as perfect. And in order to do perfect, the District would need to buy some more equipment. And in order to run that equipment, they’d need to hire someone to run that equipment.
Which means your taxes would go up.
And there’s the rub, because people complain in winter about the job the District does clearing the snow, and they complain in spring about how high the taxes are. But you can’t have one without the other.
There’s an old political chestnut that says if people on both sides of an issue are complaining, you’re probably doing things right. And yup, people are complaining.
Here’s my thinking on the matter, and once again, it has to do with Community. (Has anyone started a drinking game? When Trent rants about community, take a shot? Or would that run the risk of alcohol poisoning?)
There are certain rights and privileges that we can expect from the District. We don’t have to buy our own plow to plow our own roads, but we are expected to take care of the area in front of our house. That includes the sidewalk, and yes, the pile of snow left when the plow goes past. If you can’t deal with it yourself (too old, too infirmed, too lazy) there are kids with shovels who would love to shovel your driveway for a small fee. There’s the Snow Angel program. There’s people with bobcats and quads. Or, if you call town hall and mention that you can’t clear the windrow. Chances are they’ll come back and do it for you. But if you just sit around and complain to everyone within earshot, you’re not going to accomplish anything.