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No garage, no problem as Calgary councillor proposes driveway cover pilot project

Last Updated Jun 8, 2021 at 4:28 pm MDT

Car wiper blades clean snow from car windows. Flakes of snow covered the car with a thick layer. Safe driving with working wipers and clean windshield.

CALGARY — Winter can be brutally cold and snowy in Calgary, and that’s why one Calgary councillor is hoping for approval for a temporary driveway cover pilot project.

If the pilot goes well, it could signal the end of scrapping windshields for many people.

“The benefit is just convenience to the residents that don’t have a garage or cannot park in their garage,” said Ward 12 councillor Shane Keating.

“The snow would collect on the cover, and then slide off to the side, the frost wouldn’t form on the vehicles and they’d be ready to go.”

Keating explains the concept was inspired by a man who lived in other municipalities including Quebec and Montreal — where driveway covers are commonplace in the winter.

“He wondered whether or not this is something that the residents of Calgary would be interested in,” recalled Keating.

“You cannot put one of these structures in the front yard, you can do them in your backyard without any issue.”

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Keating says this sparked conversation around the fact that many residents have altered the use of their garages, leaving their vehicles to the elements.

“A quarantine scenario for people to accommodate coming home,” he said.

“We’re also seeing a greater emphasis on home-based businesses, and a number of different aspects like that, where garages now are becoming part of our economy rather than just to park a vehicle.”

He also explains there aren’t many carports, where you protect your car in the wintertime.

“And that’s the intent of these,” he said, adding they won’t know until after the pilot if Calgarians think these structures are necessary.

“And whether or not the general population would be interested in seeing these pop up during the winter months on front yards of their neighbours.”

Keating says they would need to get a third-party operator to facilitate the pilot. That operator would need to engage a few of the neighbours around the possible pilot site, making them aware of what’s happening and the fact that it’s temporary. The idea though would be to have multiple structures set up in a few different neighbourhoods.

“You might find a cluster say of four or five of them within an area, and then maybe another four or five in a different neighbourhood, so that they could be seen across the city to some degree,” he said.

There will be between 10 and 30 households or businesses involved in the pilot, and Keating says there will be a focus on including those who don’t have the means to protect their vehicles.

As part of the pilot, Keating says they will have to delve into many rules and regulations, while also exploring the best options aesthetically.

“Sides on the temporary covers would be you know something that should be investigated. Should we only have a roof, or should we allow sides so that visibility again is much clearer,” he said.

“The other aspect is security to the ground. How are you going to secure them in such a way that wind won’t take them and you know, blow them.”

Calgarians could see driveway covers in their neighbourhood as soon as this winter.