Carolyn Naylor normally enjoys strolling the streets of downtown Halifax along with her information canine Earl by her facet. But the routes they usually journey stay buried beneath mounds of snow, slush and ice practically every week after a strong storm pummeled a lot of Nova Scotia, dumping as a lot as 150 centimetres of snow on some areas and at the least 40 on the provincial capital itself.
Such circumstances complicate journey for everybody, however disabled residents say obstructed sidewalks and uncleared roadways are excess of simply an inconvenience for them — they current substantial journey obstacles that both go away them stranded indoors or put their security in danger in the event that they enterprise out.
And when such circumstances are allowed to persist for days at a stretch, Naylor mentioned, it leaves her and others with disabilities really feel like they’re “not cared about.”
Naylor’s travels this previous week have concerned making an attempt to navigate round snowbanks that tower over her, blocking key orientation landmarks and the sounds of visitors she depends on to cross the road. Slippery, slender sidewalks go away her feeling unsafe, and her sturdy mild sensitivity additional complicates journey amid the town’s towering drifts.
“My guide dog, love him to death, he cannot constantly be on the lookout for ice. And he can’t see the ice under the snow. That’s a real danger,” Naylor mentioned. “I can’t see ice at all until I step on it and then I’m already sliding around.”
Get the most recent National information.
Sent to your electronic mail, on daily basis.
The skinny pathways which have been cleared on many metropolis sidewalks may match for some individuals to get round, Naylor mentioned, however they don’t work for her and her information canine.
“Earl will take me onto the road versus going through that little tiny path because he sometimes believes that’s safer,” Naylor mentioned.
Disability advocate and wheelchair consumer Paul Vienneau mentioned he didn’t go away his Halifax dwelling for 3 days after the storm hit, and when he did emerge, he discovered sidewalks had solely been partially cleared.
He mentioned snow left on the perimeters of sidewalks will possible soften and freeze earlier than being lined by extra snow forecast to hit the province this week, leading to circumstances he describes as probably lethal.
“That snow that’s already down there is going to get compressed, and then we’re going to have warmer days and colder days, and one cold night is all it takes then it’s black ice again,” Vienneau mentioned.
“This is going to make it more dangerous, all over again, and for no reason,” he mentioned, including the potential accumulation of ice could possibly be prevented by extra thorough sidewalk clearance.
‘Grey divorce’ getting extra prevalent in Canada. Why it’s a priority
Opioid 25 occasions extra highly effective than fentanyl detected in Quebec City area
The Halifax Regional Municipality didn’t instantly reply to questions on sidewalk circumstances and snow clearing efforts.
Vienneau mentioned with out swift motion to clear sidewalks earlier than extra snow falls, individuals with disabilities will possible be caught struggling to get across the metropolis as soon as once more.
“It’s not fair to single out a group that may have to wait weeks to be able to live their lives,” he mentioned.
Naylor, who labored totally from dwelling final week because of the poor sidewalk circumstances, mentioned she’s already fearful about planning her week across the snow within the forecast. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm watch for many of Nova Scotia and issued an announcement on Sunday saying 20 to 30 centimetres of snow may fall between late Tuesday and midday Wednesday.
“It makes my life harder,” Naylor mentioned. “I’m stressed about everything, just the thought of walking down the street, I’m thinking: ‘Oh God. How clear is it going to be?’”
Nova Scotia’s interim accessibility pointers for indoor and outside areas, final revised in May 2023, says “outdoor spaces should be assessed during all seasons of the year and in all types of weather to ensure year-round standards of accessibility.
“It is important to know how accessibility is impacted after a snow, ice, or rain event so that everyone has equitable access to outdoor spaces,” the rules learn.
This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Feb. 11, 2024.
© 2024 The Canadian Press