The retired schoolteacher, now in his 80s, had a contractor come in last summer to makeover his front lawn and to pave the second driveway on his property on the sharp, hilly turn on Lomond Street.
He was mad enough when the snowplow operator kept dumping snow into his often unoccupied lower driveway, rendering it unusable for him. He was even more irate when the snow began to melt and revealed his front lawn has been torn up by the snowplow blade.
There are tire marks trenched into the front of his lawn above the curbside, and sod and dirt atop the nearly melted snowbank. His lower driveway is still not only filled with snow, but more sod and dirt that has been scoured off his newly repaired lawn.
“They have to come and repair this, but I want compensation too,” said Porter. “I’m considering talking to my lawyer and taking court action if I am not satisfied.”
Porter said the City of Corner Brook should be doing more to prevent this type of property damage from recurring on the same properties every year.
“There should be more communication between the managers and the people driving these snowplows and snowblowers,” he said, adding that the city should be removing snow from areas where efficient snowclearing operations are a challenge.
“They should be using trucks to remove the snow and dump it in the harbour or something like that.”
See REPAIRED on page 2
The City of Corner Brook repaired 190 lawns damaged by snowclearing operations last year. The claims don’t usually start coming in until later in spring, but there are 30 such requests filed with the city so far this year.
The city allocates $20,000 for property damage claims and usually works within that budget.
Porter said he has called the city about his concerns, but has not yet filed a claim.
“I want someone to come and talk to me about this first and to take a look at what they did to my lawn,” he said.
Rayna Luther, the City of Corner Brook’s assistant director of operational services, said it is not the city’s policy to meet with property owners who file claims.
“We add them all to a list and then, when the contract is awarded, those addresses get passed on to the contractor and we follow up that way,” said Luther, noting that the tender for that contract will be advertised this coming weekend.
According to the city’s website, claims are reviewed and property owners are notified by mail of the city’s decision regarding whether the property will be repaired.
It’s difficult to prevent damage in some areas, but Luther said there are ways to help snowclearing equipment operators know where lawns are beneath the snowbanks.
“People on corner lots are trickier and there are some cases where we get repeat ones,” she commented. “We do allow people to put up wooden markers and the operators do their best to work around them. Sometimes they get knocked down, unfortunately, but in some cases they do help minimize the damage.”
Given the number of lawns in Corner Brook, the amount of snow the area gets in an average winter and the frequency of snowclearing operations, Luther said 190 repair jobs last season is typical and not an unreasonable number.
As for using equipment smaller than the big loaders on troublesome avenues, Luther believes Lomond Street is big enough for the larger heavy equipment.
“On the smaller streets, we do use smaller equipment like backhoes with blades on them, but the loaders are sufficient for roads the size of Lomond Street,” she said.
Any resident who would like to register their property with the lawn repair list can call the city’s customer service line at 637-1666.