Waterloo councillor calls for 'gender-balanced' snow removal system
WATERLOO -- The City of Waterloo is taking another look at how it handles snow removal, but when the topic of sidewalk snow clearing came up, one councillor put forward a unique idea.
Ward 5 Councillor Jen Vasic wants the city to examine the service through a "gender-balanced" lens.
She says the gender-balanced snow removal system used in Sweden could be the answer.
The name can be a bit misleading however, as the system doesn’t only advocate for women, it prioritizes clearing snow for caregivers, who are often women, walking with small children.
Currently snow clearing is a shared responsibility in Waterloo, the city clears snow from sidewalks not connected to a business or private residence, and property owners are responsible for their own sidewalks.
The City of Waterloo has started long range planning for how they can improve the system for vulnerable people, with Vasic hoping to start the gender-balanced conversation.
"Why it’s important is because that’s a huge part of our population and the majority of people who are walking their kids to school or driving their kids to school are still women and are still caregivers and so if we want to promote active transportation and get more people out of their cars, it’s just one of doing that," said Vasic.
Vasic says council will re-examine snow removal in the New Year, at which point they will look at taking more immediate actions to keep roads and sidewalks clear.
She says some ideas include improved communication between levels of government and better surveillance of problem areas.
Vasic says her idea of gender-balanced snow removal is simply a conversation she would like to start.