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Wheelchair-bound Calgarian plows ahead by strapping himself to snowblower

Last Updated Mar 6, 2018 at 4:22 pm MDT


Martin Purvis’ wife does a lot around the house and works long hours as an accountant, so he decided he wasn’t going to wait to try and shovel his driveway after Calgary’s recent dump of snow.

The Chaparral resident had tried in earlier snowfalls to strap himself to the family’s self-propelled snowblower but wasn’t successful.

“This time I figured out a way to tie the rope to a single pivot point in the middle of the snowblower, and I found it would pull me quite nicely,” he said. “I was able to do a fair bit of snow clearing in our immediate couple of houses here down the sidewalk and up a few driveways.

“It was kind of a fun experience for me.”

Purvis’ wife took a video of his creative technique, which quickly got attention among Calgary Twitter users.

While Purvis had a big smile in the video; he said issues for people with accessibility issues are very serious.

“I’m fortunate that I live on a fairly main street that is plowed,” he said, adding across the street is a recreation centre that clears sidewalks and he can get around with his scooter.

But when there’s so much snow that parking bans are issued, daily tasks can become impossible, from going to his community mailbox to taking out the trash in a back alley.

“People that might live in other areas where things aren’t plowed are going to have that much more difficulty,” he said. “In an ideal world if we had money everywhere, we could plow every street in the city, but I’m sure that’s not a workable scenario.”

During a snow event, home and business owners must shovel their sidewalks within 24 hours after the snow falls.

Seniors or others with accessibility issues who call 311 with snow issues will be responded to by city crews, but only after priority routes are dealt with first during the city’s seven-day snow removal programs.

Despite the city’s Snow Angels program, recent snow events have reignited the debate about whether the city should do more about clearing residential areas.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said he’s open to the discussion, but people have to ask if they’re willing to pay more taxes.