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Halifax’s icy and snowy sidewalks pose major safety risk to those with disabilities

Halifax residents living with physical and visual disabilities say sidewalks still caked in snow and ice a week after a major snowstorm hit the province means getting around the city is dangerous and in some cases impossible. 

Carolyn Naylor, who lives in downtown Halifax and describes herself as visually impaired, says the past week has been extremely frustrating and stressful for her and her guide dog Earl.

Naylor’s travels have involved trying to navigate around snowbanks that tower over her and block key orientation landmarks, as well as slippery, narrow sidewalks that leave her feeling unsafe.

Disability advocate and wheelchair user Paul Vienneau says he didn’t leave his Halifax home for three days after the storm hit, and when he did emerge, he found sidewalks had only been partially cleared.

Vienneau says local sidewalks are hemmed in by snowbanks as much as a third of a metre high, leaving a narrow path that may not be wide enough for those who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. 

He says snow left on the edges of sidewalks will likely melt and freeze before being covered by more snow forecast to hit the province this week, resulting in conditions he describes as potentially deadly.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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