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'It is absolutely ridiculous': Scarborough homeowner upset with repeated damage from sidewalk plows
Chris Fox
March 27, 2023

A Scarborough homeowner is speaking out after he says that city sidewalk plows repeatedly damaged the landscaping around his property over the course of the winter.

Penaherrera Guido lives on Inniswood Drive in the Victoria Park and Lawrence avenues area.

He said that on at least three occasions this winter sidewalk plows contracted by the city have torn up grass and knocked over landscaping blocks along his property line.

Guido said that he has tried everything to get the damage to stop, from preventively clearing the sidewalk of snow himself to calling the city to complain.

But he said that the issue keeps reoccurring, with the full extent of the damage only becoming clear recently with the melting of the snow.

“Before this didn't happen,” he told CP24 this week. “It is absolutely ridiculous.”

Guido has lived on Inniswood Drive for more than a decade and told CP24 that in previous winters he had no issues with sidewalk plows ripping up grass and causing other damage.

But he said that since the city awarded new contracts for snow removal services last year, sidewalk plows appear to be “scraping everything in their paths,” leaving himself and his neighbours deeply frustrated.

He said that he has called 311 repeatedly but was told not to expect a response for at least two weeks.

“This equipment that they use to clean the sidewalk. I believe it's a little bit too wide for that purpose and now the neighbourhood looks ugly,” Guido said. “You know, we (his neighbours) try to care for everything, we clean, we broom the sidewalk so everything is clean and everything is nice. It is terrible.”

Guido provided numerous videos to CP24 showing the extent of the damage.

The videos show grass torn up on both sides of the sidewalk along a significant portion of the street.

In some areas tire tracks are also visible in the mud.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the City of Toronto said that there have been no changes to sidewalk plow dimensions this winter.

The spokesperson, however, said that it is “common” to see a higher number of service requests during the first year of a new winter maintenance contract as the “contractor gets familiar with neighbourhoods and refines their operations.”

They also said that the “frequent warm and rainy weather” in recent months could be contributing to the “the volume and severity of sod damage this winter.”

The city previously told CTV News Toronto that it had received 1,844 boulevard/sidewalk damage service requests as of last week, as well as 571 roadside plow damage service requests.

“To avoid excessive damage to sod in future, staff are discussing with contractors what measures they can take to reduce the number of damages, particularly when sidewalk plows need to deviate from the sidewalk to avoid encroachments such as hedges, fences, driveway border curbs, etc,” the spokesperson said. “Staff have also requested that contractors review the damages reported to determine if there are any trends, such as a specific clearing route experiencing a higher volume of damages. These trends will then be addressed appropriately.”

The city says that repairs to sod damage resulting from winter operations will be completed in the late spring and summer.

Guido, however, told CP24 that he would prefer that the damage not happen in the first place.

“If somebody doesn't correct them, what is the point of fixing it and then the next year somebody comes and does the same thing?” he said. “I just don’t get it. You tell me.”