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'A bit of a shock': Candy Cane Lane residents receive snow clearing warnings

Candy Cane Lane residents say they have been gifted a lump of coal by the city in the form of a warning to clear the snowpack off their sidewalks.

After wrapping up festive displays for the latest holiday season, residents were given notices issued by the City of Edmonton demanding bare sidewalks. Many in the neighbourhood say that is easier said than done.

Mandy Trapp, who celebrated her third year on Edmonton's most festive street, said putting up the elaborate lights and display in front of her house is always a highlight of her year.

"We have a lot of fun," Trapp said. "We have a joint display with our neighbours. We love it."

She came home Thursday evening and noticed blue letters hanging on the doorknobs all along her street.

"We thought maybe it's just some new utility line," she told CTV News Edmonton on Friday. "To see that there is a warning that we only have a couple of days to remove all of the snow or there's going to be a $100 fine… that's disappointing."

"It was a bit of a shock," she added.

One of the 65 warnings the CIty of Edmonton delivered to Candy Cane Lane residents on Thursday (CTV News Edmonton/Jeremy Thompson).

For her, it feels like an "unfair expectation," given the thousands of visitors that enjoy the displays over the holidays and how the snowpack becomes compacted to a point it is difficult to remove.

"Because the pack was so deep and there's been so much salt that's been put on top of it, I don't think any of us really thought anything of it," Trapp said.

Since the notices were delivered, a lot of neighbours have been "frantically" chipping their walks, Trapp said.

"Everybody's out because they are afraid of the punishment and the greater point is why the punishment?"

Fellow Candy Cane Resident Marc Driessen says he'll clear the snow, but after helping deliver Christmas cheer to Edmontonians, the threat from the city is disappointing.

"We like that people appreciate our efforts and everything else," Driessen said. "We don't have any issues with closing down the streets and not being able to park [in front of our houses]."

"It's somewhat of a kick in the stomach, if you will, when you come back and get this letter," he added. "All of our neighbours are like, 'What's going on here?'"

Driessen says the neighbourhood has never had any issues in the past.

"We love to partake, but on the other hand, like, cut us a bit of a break."

Some Candy Cane Lane residents started "frantically" chipping away at the snowpack in front of their homes after receiving warnings from the city, said resident Mandy Trapp (CTV News Edmonton/Jeremy Thompson).

Area Coun. Andrew Knack explained that officers must investigate complaints, regardless of location. While having a snowpack may not make a difference for most Edmontonians, he says it can be a barrier for those using wheelchairs or walkers.

"That's why there is a level of strictness we try to apply, but again for Candy Cane Lane, I think there is a clear understanding there's got to be more leniency shown," he said.

In his eyes, the fact bylaw officers delivered residents a warning with several days notice shows they used discretion in applying the rules.

"The bylaw officers, while they probably had the right under the bylaw to start issuing tickets and things, they clearly knew that was not going to be appropriate," he added.

The city typically clears sidewalks on the lane a few times during the holiday rush. Trapp hopes the city will give it one final pass after the festival in the future.

"Why wouldn’t you come back at the end as the City and clean the sidewalk back up? It’s more than normal wear and tear on a sidewalk, and it’s more than what most residents can keep on top of for sure," she said.

Knack agreed, especially since it would show residents some appreciation for putting on the festival, as they don't receive any break on their property taxes or utility costs.

"Candy Cane Lane obviously has some very unique characteristics. While it's on, it is getting thousands upon thousands of people and that foot traffic. That makes it really hard for those residents who give up so much time and, frankly, money, to support what is a great winter festival."

In a statement Friday afternoon, the city confirmed it delivered around 65 door hanger warnings to the Candy Cane Lane area.

Spokesperson Chrystal Coleman said no fines were issued and now "no follow up will be initiated." Additionally, city crews will "help remove the snowpack" on Friday.

"Edmontonians are fortunate to have Candy Cane Lane continue as a holiday tradition through the hard work of many homeowners and volunteers who work hard each year to make this such a delight for so many," Coleman added. Top Stories

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