From the flurry of complaints over snowbound streets and isolated communities after recent winter storms, a new potential approach for funding improved snow clearing and removal has emerged.

Ward 8 Ald. John Mar said he believes the insurance industry has a vested interest in the safety and security of its clientele, and he’s banking on its support for a plan to see insurers help foot the bill for future snow clearing.

Administration will be asked to begin a dialogue with the insurance industry through Mar’s notice of motion, which will appear before city council on Monday.

Mar said given the annual insurance payouts to repair cars in collisions on city streets and protect homes from fires, like the recent Citadel blaze that destroyed five homes — with the difficulty city emergency crews had navigating impassable roads — he sees this proposal as a win-win.

“The best part … is this doesn’t cost the taxpayer a single cent,” said Mar.

“This is a ‘think-outside-of-the-box’ look at best practices — what else can be done in a way that we can still provide the level of service we need, or increase the level of service?”

Mar cited other precedents of insurance industry involvement as the impetus for the idea, noting insurance funding for the seeding of clouds during the summer storm season to protect crops.

If the idea is approved, Mar hopes administration will report back to the Land Use, Planning and Transportation meeting by February 2010 — with a partnership struck for winter 2010.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada and a regional insurance agency were contacted for comment, but Metro did not receive a response.

Latest From ...