Just three days before Christmas, my family received the good news that our 92-year-old mother had been placed in long-term care.
She had been living happily at Bedford Manor on Seymour Street for the past four years until she broke her foot and could no longer care for herself. Moving Mom meant my sisters and I needed to immediately box up some of her things and deliver them to her new home.
Christmas Eve found me arriving at mom's apartment to do that work. I was disappointed and not surprised to find the sidewalk all along the 500-block Seymour Street downtown barricaded with an icy wall of frozen slush. The only open-to-the-street place was in front of the building's underground parking garage — and it was covered in shiny ice.
I parked, managed to toss some empty boxes and suitcases over the ice wall and clamoured over myself. At 70 years old, the risk of me falling on ice is a serious danger. On returning with my load to transfer to my van, I decided to move my vehicle to the underground parking driveway so I could manage to load safely.
Then an ambulance arrived for an unrelated medical call. I pulled forward so the paramedics could get the gurney out and onto the sidewalk. There were so many things wrong with my Christmas Eve experience that could have been put right by one sweep on a Bobcat or a couple of men with shovels removing the icy barricade in the loading zone.
I understand street-clearing budgets and priorities and Christmas Eve and COVID-19 and all the other excuses for not creating safe access to a seniors’ building — and I want to believe the city intends to rectify that serious issue in an attempt to show respect and care for the seniors in our community.