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Councillor: Wider driveways would drive up snow removal costs

Why are councillors poised to approve wider driveways for suburban homes, when those help contribute to more expensive snow removal?

That's what Councillor Scott Moffatt is asking, a day after city officials revealed that the winter operations budget was blown last year, resulting in a $21.5 million deficit.

The most expensive component of winter maintenance is snow removal, when the city trucks snow out of residential neighbourhoods after it builds up on roadsides.

Last week, city hall's planning committee approved wider driveways for suburban residents and the report concluded that there are no financial implications for that decision.

Not so, said Rideau-Goulbourn Councillor Scott Moffatt.

"It's kind of disingenuous to say that there are no financial implications in allowing widened driveways," he said on Thursday.

Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder is a proponent of letting homeowners have a wider driveway, arguing many two car families have space for one only vehicle. She argued that garages are often jam packed with sports equipment and other things, so the other car ends up on the street which results in by-law tickets.

But Moffatt said people should better choose where they call home.

"If I bought a house with one garage and I had two cars, I would know what I bought moving in. It's not my fault that they don't use their garages properly." Harder argued it already costs more for snow removal in the suburbs, and part of that is because the city has decided not to expand the city limits, so more homes need to be built within the existing lands. That proposal to allow wider driveways is up for final approval next Wednesday.

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