Saint John — There was much consternation after Wednesday’s snowfall when it was announced that the city’s snow clearing services will be considerably limited due to budgetary constraints and supply chain issues affecting plow parts.
In response to the controversy, Mayor Donna Reardon has announced that they would be converting the city’s roads into “Canada’s Largest Ice Rink.”
“It’s better on the environment, it’s better on the city’s coffers, and it’s sure to bring in tourism dollars during a season where the city typically receives few visitors,” Reardon told reporters on Thursday.
Even with Reardon’s assertion that maintaining the city as an ice rink would be cheaper than clearing the roads, many have remained skeptical. However, Tim O’Reilly, Saint John’s director of city works, backs up her claims.
“Our fleet of snow plows are severely under-serviced at this time,” said O’Reilly. “Thankfully, we have plenty of Zambonis.”
The move goes beyond infrastructure, however. Saint John police officers on the traffic beat are expected to be outfitted with orange whistles and striped shirts so that they may issue penalties for a suite of new bylaws written specifically for the new traffic configuration.
“Rather than a $200 ticket for speeding, people will be more likely to receive two minutes for interference,” confirmed Police Chief Robert Bruce.
Although these changes would bring additional costs, Reardon confirmed that the recent budget constraints would not include cuts to policing.
Public transportation will also be receiving an overhaul, as busses would be stored in the winter in favour of relatively inexpensive bobsleds.
“So long as we start at the top of King Street, we can get anywhere in town within a fraction of the time it would take by bus,” said Reardon.
While this initiative is certain to negatively impact those who are incapable of ice skating. Reardon was unfazed by this concern.
“We consider ice-skating to be a prerequisite for Canadian citizenship,” she said. “If one cannot skate, then we’re quite confident that they do not fall under our municipal jurisdiction.”