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Just enough snow so far for sidewalk plows to tear up turf: Fixer

When those cute little plows begin pushing snow off the sidewalks, it would be nice if they could stay between the lines.

And when they wander even a bit off course, there’s a pretty good chance the turf next to the sidewalk will be shredded, and the nearest homeowners will be peeved about it.

But the good news is that the damaged turf is almost always city property, and someone will show up to fix the damage in spring if a complaint is made to the city.

Among our wintertime rites of passage is the clearing of sidewalks by small plows that are charmingly named “peanut pushers” in Quebec, with blades specially contoured to the dimensions of the walkway.

They’re used mainly in suburban areas where there’s enough room to pile up the snow around the sidewalks. There isn’t sufficient space to use them in the inner city, where sidewalks are squeezed on both sides by various things.

It would seem that running a peanut pusher is not a skilled job, but the trick is keeping them on the straight and narrow when the snow prevents the driver from seeing the edges of the sidewalk.

That was obviously the case along a sidewalk that runs between Somerdale Sq. and Regency Sq., where a huge amount of turf was peeled up next to the sidewalk, even though the snowfall was no more than a few centimetres.

Andy Manahan sent us a startling photo of a large pile of dirt and grass on one side of the walkway, along with a note that said “clearly the snow plow operator took his eye off the sidewalk.

This would have occurred after the lightest of snowfalls. Additional costs to repair the damaged sod are borne by everyone for a service that was most likely unnecessary in the first place.”

The only significant snowfall so far this winter was a dump of no more than 6-8 centimetres on Dec. 28 and 29, which is when the damage was obviously done.

But if the plow operator was working at night and not familiar with the area, it would be easy to stray off the poorly lit sidewalk and tear up the turf.

STATUS: Hector Moreno, a senior road operations official with the city, said that when the weather is as mild as it has been this winter, the turf next to sidewalks isn’t frozen. So it’s easy for the plow blade to tear the soft turf if it strays even slightly from the sidewalk. If a complaint is made to 311, Moreno said the city will show up in the spring and lay new sod over the damaged area, but homeowners have to help out by watering the sod until it takes root, he said.

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