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VIDEO: 'I couldn't believe it': Richmond Hill won't pay after snowplow runs over basketball net
April 27, 2022

Although many neighbours find them a scourge, it’s irrefutable that basketball nets are community hubs where York Region children gather to have fun and get exercise outdoors.

In the age of the immersive video games and COVID-19, nets have become all the more vital to children’s lives.

“We often have 20, 30, even 50 children outside playing on the net,” he said.

So when Pete Ribeiro found his children’s net mangled on the side of the road outside his Pine Trees Court home in Richmond Hill, he was shocked and wanted answers.

After checking his surveillance system, he noticed the basketball net had been destroyed by a City of Richmond Hill snowplow that accidentally ran it over while out working in March.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he told about the net, the base of which was on his property.

When he wrote the city to explain what had happened, he was left even more shocked by the response: the city would not be replacing it.

"In this case, the basketball net was within the City’s municipal right-of-way with the net overhanging the road, which did not provide enough clearance for the plow and is in violation of the city's (bylaw)," according to the city's director of public works, Jeff Stewart.

So Pete went to the media with his story.

Soon after it was aired on the 6 p.m. news, many others began to step up.

The driver of the snowplow came by his home to apologize man-to-man for his error.

Then, the public relations director of NBA Canada reached out to remedy the situation with a donation, the contents of which are still being worked out.

Next, the public relations director at Sport Chek reached out and offered new shoes for the whole family, new basketballs and a new net for the family.

Considering Ribeiro had already replaced the $800 net with a $700 net, he advised Sport Chek to donate the net to a local YMCA.

“I’m not looking for handouts here,” he said. “But I do believe the behaviour of Richmond Hill is irresponsible. The driver made a mistake, he apologized, but mistakes need to be corrected. I was disappointed.”

The city added that the plow operator was focused on navigating around an oncoming vehicle and was not aware his truck had hit anything.

"The City is not responsible for damage to private items placed on City property and as such, the resident was informed the City would not be providing reimbursement," Stewart added in an emailed comment.