People laughed when Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman called in the army to help clear snow in 1999.
But snow and ice present many challenges for municipal government.
When snow is plowed to clear the way for vehicles, parking becomes difficult, and icy sidewalks are also treacherous for pedestrians.
After a recent snowstorm in Calgary, dozens of people were injured and taken to the hospital when they fell on icy streets and sidewalks.
Snow removal is expensive, and some cities are determined to find a better way.
Saskatoon and Edmonton are considering heated sidewalks, and they’re by no means the first winter communities to do so.
Holland, Michigan installed a water recirculation system under downtown sidewalks. It has substantially reduced the need for plowing, sanding, and salting.
Iceland is blessed with an abundance of geothermal energy, and Reykjavik uses it to keep sidewalks and streets clear of snow.
And in BC, the Vancouver suburb of Richmond has begun a heated sidewalk project.
Nearby businesses might be prepared to help pay the bill to attract customers.
As we finally near the end of this brutal winter, it’s time to consider innovations like these.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
For more on urban issues, visit our website www.fcpp.org.