Unacceptable campus ice

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Since the late December ice storm in Kingston, there’s been a tremendous amount of ice underfoot on and around campus. Several weeks have passed since the worst of the weather, but large patches of ice can still be found on campus, and most sidewalks in the surrounding areas are completely covered in ice.

Ice covered sidewalks, walkways and stairs are a huge obstacle for those with disabilities and those who have otherwise reduced mobility. For example, a student with arthritis faces a much longer and more painful walk to class in such conditions. In order to avoid treacherous sidewalks, many students have resorted to walking on the street, a strategy that comes with major hazards of its own.

Queen’s staff have now cleared ice from most high-traffic walkways on campus but their response was too slow and inconsistent.

While Queen’s Student Affairs says, “it is helpful to maintain clear pathways on the sidewalks in front of your home”, the current conditions began when most students were out of town for the holidays. Students returned to heavily packed snow and ice that was nearly impossible to move.

Fortunately, there are some possible solutions to this type of predicament. The City could treat student living areas as a high priority for the removal of ice and snow because it’s a high foot traffic area.

Alternatively, the University could pay for the removal of snow and ice beyond campus borders. This could be justified on the same grounds as the Homecoming “policing fees” that Queen’s is paying to the City, as the University does accept some responsibility for student issues in the surrounding neighbourhood.

No matter what occurs, Queen’s and the City could stand to collaborate to a greater degree on this issue as the current conditions are unacceptable.

Both groups could do a better job of being precise about whose responsibility it is to clear sidewalks so that someone can be held to account. The current situation should be a learning experience for everyone involved.

―Journal Editorial Board

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