Angels with shovels could be landing in Penetanguishene

To enter Penetanguishene is to be greeted by the angel statues on either side of County Road 93, best visible when they aren’t blanketed by snow.

Being located in the snowbelt of Georgian Bay, North Simcoe often experiences some of the heaviest snowfalls in the region, and accessibility can be problematic for those with reduced mobility.

Penetanguishene council recently endorsed looking into a volunteer program aimed at neighbourly snow removal, as an addition to municipal efforts.

“The town recently adopted an age-friendly plan which helps the community create a place where people can age more successfully in place,” explained Sherry Desjardins, the town's director of recreation and community services. She stated that snow removal was one of the "known barriers" that affected seniors and people with disabilities.

The community well-being committee recommended an option to staff regarding the Snow Angels Canada program which had been adopted in other municipalities.

Desjardin added, “It’s just a matter of promoting it so that volunteers and people in need would sign up through the agency who would manage it themselves, and the liability would remain with the program.”

Started in 2015, Snow Angels Canada began as a London-based initiative as an experiment in kindness; the program expanded nation-wide in 2019. According to the website, snow removal can be a prohibitively-expensive and bureaucratic affair which the community can aid through the connection of neighbours in their neighbourhoods.

Deputy Mayor Anita Dubeau called the program “a great idea.”

“The cost to implement and advertise it would be well worth it,” said Dubeau. “It is giving something to the community and I think that’s very important.”

Council accepted the report as a matter for consideration, with the recommendation that $3,000 from the community development fund reserve outside the current budget be used in funding the initiative if needed.

The Snow Angels Canada council report can be located on the agenda page of the Town of Penetanguishene website.

Meetings of Penetanguishene council are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and can be watched live on Rogers TV cable 53, or on the Rogers TV website.

Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca