The city’s publication for its residents
Your Kitchener is published every other month to keep citizens informed on local issues and events. Questions or comments can be directed to 519-741-2200 x7383 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The City of Kitchener is committed to providing accessible formats. If another format would work better for you, please contact the number above.
s the new year turns, we’re into the final stretch of 2017 budget deliberations. As a resident of Kitchener, you have lots of opportunities to be part of this process, and to provide input. By getting involved, you can assist council and staff to put your utility and tax dollars to work where you want to see them spent. Save these dates, review the budget content online at www.kitchener. ca/citybudget or www.kitchener.ca/ budget2017, and join us in council chambers or online via webstream at www.kitchener.ca to listen to the discussion on these dates: • Jan. 16: Public input session, 7 p.m. • Jan. 23: Final budget day, 9:30 a.m. During final budget day, council will set the budgets for all city services, as well as funding provided to other organizations. During these deliberations, council will consider
Budget Highlights the balance between affordable rate increases, and sustaining valued service levels. Kitchener continues to be one of the most affordable cities in the province, enjoying among the lowest combined tax and utility cost of Ontario’s largest cities. Things you should know about the 2017 budget 1. T he proposed tax-supported budget gives citizens what they’ve asked for, by maintaining services levels at a tax levy increase equal to the rate of inflation: The proposed net tax levy increase of 1.75 per cent equals the rate of inflation, amounting to an additional $19 per year, or $1.58 per month on the average Kitchener home (assessed at $291,000). 2. T he proposed utility budgets include substantial increased investments in utility infrastructure: The proposed increases in water,
Investments you can count on
sanitary sewer and stormwater are a combined 9.3 per cent. This level of increase is driven by the need to replace large amounts of capital infrastructure that are at the end of life (e.g., roads, water and sewer pipes) and also implement a proactive maintenance program. Proactive maintenance will extend the life of capital infrastructure and reduce costs in the long run. The rates also cover increases to the cost of water supply and sewage processing passed along by the Region of Waterloo. Water, sewer and stormwater utility rate increases amount to an additional $98 a year, or a combined monthly impact of $8.15.
3. M ore than half of the proposed total increase in Kitchener rates is attributed to other levels of government: Cost increases controlled by the Region of Waterloo (water supply and sewage processing costs) and Province of Ontario (natural gas cap-and-trade charges) are responsible for 52 per
4. L ike other Ontario municipalities, Kitchener is increasingly exposed to rising Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) costs: In recent years, the provincial government has changed WSIB legislation, specifically as it relates to coverage for firefighters for presumptive illness, like cancer and post-traumatic stress disorders. The city maintains a WSIB reserve to help offset the cost of claims, but the reserve requires a multiyear solution to respond to a growing liability for WSIB costs. The proposed budget contains options to increase funding to the WSIB reserve with no additional increase to property taxes. You can connect with us by calling 519-741-2200 x7700; emailing email@example.com or following the discussion on social media @ CityKitchener or #kitbudget and facebook.com/CityofKitchener
Where do your tax $ go?
You expect safe, clean and reliable water every time you turn on the tap, and dependable removal of wastewater. Kitchener is committed to delivering just that. To do this, though, the city must take a multi-year approach to funding aging infrastructure.
32% goes to the City of Kitchener to provide programs and services.
As part of the 2017 Kitchener budget process, the City of Kitchener is reviewing water, sanitary sewer and stormwater utility rates, and measuring them against a long-term approach to funding maintenance and infrastructure replacement. As a result the proposed 9.3 per cent increase to utility rates for 2017 will have a combined monthly impact of about $8.15. This includes a proposed 7.6 per cent increase to water rates; a 10.8 per cent increase for sewer rates, and a 9.2 per cent increase to stormwater rates.
cent of the proposed total tax and utility rate increase in the 2017 City of Kitchener budget.
Recreation & Leisure
68% goes to the school boards and Region of Waterloo.
Road Maintenance & Winter Control
Kitchener Public Library, Centre in the Square & Other Grants
The rate increases also include the Region of Waterloo’s costs, and are largely due to substantial and sustained pressures beyond the city’s control, including: • Aging infrastructure; • Declining water consumption; • Regional rate increases for water and sanitary; • Strict legislative requirements. For more information about 2017 utility rates, including videos, please go to www.kitchener.ca/utilityrates2017 n
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Debt Payment & Capital Transfers
Administration, Support & Legislated Services
Planning & Economic Development
Mayor & Council
Youth Video Competition
Council discussed how the city will improve the way it engages with the public on Jan 9.
Young filmmakers wanted! The City of Kitchener and Kitchener Public Library are offering three $300 cash prizes in two age categories – 12-17 and 18-25 – for youth to showcase an original short film and animations. Plus, up to 10 honourable mentions will be awarded. The deadline for submissions is March 31. Winning short original videos will be showcased at the Central Library Theatre on Saturday, April 29 at 2 p.m. For guidelines and formats, please see www.kitchener.ca/youthvideocomp Living Well Expo The Mayor’s Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS) is launching a new initiative called the Living Well Expo, a new showcase of the many opportunities available in the city for older adults to maintain active, healthy lifestyles in Kitchener. On Saturday, May 27, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., MACKS’ inaugural “one-stop-shop” for adults 55+ will be held in the rotunda at Kitchener City Hall. The Living Well Expo will feature several speakers and demonstrations that focus on healthy aging as well as information on local programs and services that keep seniors connected to the community, active and staying in their home longer! Hiring now for summer jobs Postings are now open for summer employment with the City of Kitchener. If you know a motivated, energetic youth, the city is now hiring for positions in youth services, summer camps, inclusion services and sports instruction, full and part-time summer employment. There are more than 150 rewarding job opportunities for youth ages 15-24 for summer programs offered by the city, working with children and youth with the city’s community services department. It’s a great way to develop leadership, problem-solving and collaboration skills. Training is provided to all successful applicants. Position descriptions and applications deadlines and other information are online at www.kitchener.ca/hiringnow or by calling 519-741-2225 or TTY 1-866969-9995. The majority of postings have application deadlines of Jan. 31, 2017. Family Day fun - Feb. 20 In the depths of winter, in that long period of time between New Year’s Day and Easter, you need a rest – what better way than with your family? There are a number of events happening throughout the city this year. Visit www.kitchener.ca/familyday for a full listing. Winter scavenger hunt On Saturday, Jan. 14, 1 p.m., at Huron Natural Area, come with a camera in hand to explore the winter woods to see how many things you can find on a scavenger hunt list. Come dressed for the weather! Note: Bathrooms are not available in the winter months. Meet at the play area.
Hot topics @ council C
ouncillors meet regularly at standing committee and council meetings to discuss and make decisions on issues facing the city and its residents. Typically the process begins with a report generated by city staff, which in most cases, provides recommendations that are to be
considered by the standing committee most closely related to the matter at hand.
are then compiled as a report which is submitted to city council at their next meeting for final approval.
Councillors use the standing-committee meetings to discuss and debate an issue, and either adopt, amend, defeat or defer the related recommendations. The decisions of a standing committee
Some of the reports coming forward in January and February are highlighted below.
Neighbourhood Strategy (Feb. 13)
For the full agendas, see the calendar at www.kitchener.ca
Community engagement review An engaged city brings people together for conversations to address issues that impact them, to solve shared problems, and to bring about positive social change. It involves people in the decision-making process, encourages two-way dialogue with the city and helps us to make decisions that are more informed and reflective of our citizens concerns and values. On Jan. 9, councillors discussed recommendations coming out of the city’s first comprehensive review of its public engagement practices, processes and policies that will help us achieve our goal of building a community where the public is engaged and active in decision making about local issues. These recommendations will improve the ways in which citizens can participate in the decisions that impact them and make it easy for anyone to join the conversation. There are 16 recommendations that propose better internal collaboration and coordination of engagement initiatives, new staff training, developing strategies to reach people who don’t typically get involved, new tools and processes intended to improve consistency and reporting back to the public. The recommendations were developed following an extensive consultation with staff, council and the public. The full report and recommendations can be found at www.kitchener.ca/ communityengagement. Who we talked to • Mayor and council through individual interviews; • 100+ city staff through 25 discussions and two workshops;
Also on Jan. 9, staff presented the city’s first community-based tech strategy called Digital Kitchener – a commitment to build a city that is connected, innovative, on-demand and inclusive. Based on the “smart city” concept, Digital Kitchener is more than a strategic document with guiding principles and actions. It’s about transformation and a vision to harness the power of digital technology to create a smart, modern city. Smart cities use technology and creative solutions improve service delivery, reduce costs and resource consumption, attract knowledge and build innovative clusters. Several initiatives to expand the city’s digital infrastructure are already underway. Citywide internet speed testing will identify areas that require new infrastructure. The installation of new LED lights with smart sensors will reduce electrical consumption and costs. Expanded WiFi access at city facilities will make information more accessible and convenient.
• 100+ citizens through two community workshops and discussions with 11 advisory committees;
Digital Kitchener is about more than tech. It’s a commitment to connect citizens with each other, their surroundings and their government through the power of digital tools.
• 500+ responses received through EngageKitchener;
To read the strategy, please go to www.kitchener.ca/digitalkitchener.
• Hundreds of citizens engaged through street teams and events.
Kitchener’s first-ever Neighbourhood Strategy is nearly complete! The strategy has emerged from nearly 4,000 hours of conversations with more than 5,000 people. There are 18 action items in three themes: Great Places, Connected People, Working Together. The strategy supports resident-led neighbourhood ideas that are fun and easy to do. Some examples include creating community gardens, painting crosswalks, hosting street parties, and lots more. Find out more at www.kitchener.ca/lovemyhood.
Fire Master Plan (Feb. 13) The City of Kitchener’s new Fire Master Plan is set to guide the Kitchener Fire Department for the next five years. The plan focuses on aligning service levels and priorities with the community’s expectations and ensuring the community is safe. The plan is based on the three lines of defense framework from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office: 1) public education and fire prevention; 2) fire standards and code enforcement; 3) emergency response. The plan will also provide clear direction with respect to future needs, maintenance of existing facilities and services and how to prioritize resources to most effectively benefit this growing and diverse community.
Celebrating Outstanding People in Kitchener A s a city, Kitchener thrives because of the many citybuilders who are committed to our city through charitable work, acts of kindness and compassion and community-fostering activities. And there are so many groups and events that also strengthen and benefit our community. Take a look at some of the people who make Kitchener #awesome, and some of the ways we celebrate our community builders.
City Builder Award winners
Five individuals and one community organization are the recipients of the City of Kitchener’s 2016 Mayor’s City Builder Awards for their volunteerism and service to the community: Don Bourgeois has been active in municipal strategic planning, arts and culture, and economic development in Waterloo Region for 40 years. He volunteers countless hours to local organizations and civic committees such as the KW Art Gallery, KW Symphony and Compass Kitchener. Nadia Muhammad arrived in Kitchener from Pakistan in 2013, and has been heavily involved in the community ever since. She was elected vice president of the Victoria Hills Neighbourhood Association in 2015, and has led successful cultural celebrations at the community centre, including Diwali and Eid.
Senior of the Year Award
Nominations open Feb. 1 for Kitchener’s Senior of the Year Award. The Province of Ontario offers each municipality in Ontario the opportunity to honour one outstanding recipient who, after the age of 65, has enriched the social, cultural or civic life of his or her community. The recipient is selected by a panel of city staff, volunteers and members of council. Kitchener’s recipient will be awarded the honour on Saturday, May 27 during the Living Well Expo.
For 49 years, the Athletic Awards have celebrated many of this city’s and country’s finest amateur athletes, and the coaches who have inspired and motivated them to excellence. The awards recognize local athletes who have won a provincial or national championship, and those who won gold, silver or bronze at an international championship. “Local athletes spend countless hours
Now taking heritage grant applications The city’s heritage grants are open to residents who own property that is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, including individual properties and properties located in one of the city’s four heritage conservation districts. Grants are available to cover up to half the cost of eligible projects, to a maximum of $3,000. Applications are due March 31. For more information, visit www.kitchener.ca/heritagefunding Tales & Trails discovery walks
Dr. Mike Stephenson (not pictured) is passionate about refugee medicine, opening Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre in 2013; the centre is staffed mostly by volunteer health care professionals, and served more than 1,500 refugees with complex and chronic needs in 2016. The “go to” person among service providers and organizations supporting refugee newcomers, Dr. Stephenson also works closely with Public Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association. Brooke Robinson is an advocate for the community and passionate about creating stronger neighbourhoods. She leads activities and gatherings, such as Easter egg hunts, summer family barbecues and Earth Day clean-ups in her neighbourhood, Tremaine Park. She is a member of the Neighbourhood Strategy project team and her family donated the first outdoor ping pong table in Kitchener to Tremaine Park.
arren Stauch is a member of the W Christkindl Market organizing committee; chair of the Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation, and executive of the Auditorium Neighbourhood Association. He was also project co-leader in the implementation of the pavilion project in Knollwood Park, and volunteers as director of business for the St. Mary’s Hospital volunteer association and with Joke Junction at Grand River Hospital. Reception House welcomes governmentassisted refugees through a number of programs and services to make their new life in Canada a success. Since the federal government announced a commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees within Canada just over a year ago, Reception House has settled more than 1,000 government-assisted refugees in the region. Recipients were recognized at the mayor and council’s New Year’s Levee on Jan. 8.
Nominate a local athlete online by Jan. 12, and the event will be on March 21.
The Kitchener Youth Action Council (KYAC) celebrates and recognizes the talents and contributions of young people aged 14-24 in our community at an annual awards ceremony at city hall. You can influence a young person’s life by taking a few minutes to complete an online nomination form and recognize the contributions they’ve made to Kitchener through volunteer work or activities and initiatives that they’re involved with. There is also a category for those over 24.
Nominations are open Feb. 1 through March 31 and the awards are given out on May 3. For more information, please visit www.kitchener.ca/youthawards or call 519-741-2200 x5075.
What’s on at the market Learn some new skills or try some new recipes in the Marketplace at Kitchener Market. Classes run 6:30-8:30 p.m. Register online @ kitchener.ca/webreg • Knife Skills - Jan. 17: Sharpen your cutting skills with this intensive hands-on tutorial and learn the basics of how to hold, sharpen, clean and purchase knives, as well as some classic cuts. • Make Your Own Pasta - Jan. 18: Penne, spaghetti, fettucine… are we speaking your language yet? If you love pasta as much as we do you will want to make it fresh at home. Come learn how to make basic pasta and sauces to accompany. • Artshine and Wine Meditative Shapes - Jan. 24: Inspired by abstract shapes and layers, this project uses soft muted colours, and mixes them with gold leaf to produce a 3D textured effect. Luminous Transcendence Feb. 28: This piece takes elements inspired by nature and combines them with modern colours like teal and gold to produce a whimsical masterpiece.
training, competing and striving for success, all the while giving back to our community. Athletes and teams are nominated by their peers, coaches or members of the community, which reflects the community’s appreciation of their hard work and dedication to their sport,” said Ashley Purvis, sports development coordinator for the City of Kitchener. “That is the true value of the event.”
Grow your young child’s love of nature with songs, stories and a hike at Huron Natural Area each Wednesday from Jan. 11 through Feb. 22. This free program runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon, is great for kids five and under and is different each week. Dress for an outdoor program. No registration required. Note: Bathrooms are not available during winter months.
Synchronized swimming for adults 55+ Lyle Hallman pool’s new synchro program for adults 55+ is making a splash! The pilot was such a success, the pool has made the synchronized swimming program for adults 55+ a regular part of its programming at the centre. Register through WebReg. Find out about all these programs and celebrations on the city’s website at www.kitchener.ca, or follow the city on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Even better, take a look around at your community and think about which city builders you can nominate next year!
• Knitting 101 - Jan. 19: Want to learn to knit but don’t know where to start? Attend one of our beginner knitting courses and receive two hours of hands-on instruction. And more! Kids in the Kitchen are making Snowman Soup on Jan. 14, 10 a.m. until noon. in the Marketplace. Or, on Feb 10 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., you can bring your sweetheart and join Chef D for a Valentine’s Day cooking class Cost: $55. For live music and event listings for the market, go to www.kitchenermarket.ca/events
Salt impacts our water.
We all have a role to play.
The Region of Waterloo is committed to protecting our water. We are working to reduce salt use on roads and on properties through innovative solutions and partnerships.
Here’s what YOU can do... Shovel or plow first. Clear the white stuff as soon as you can so a snowy sidewalk doesn’t become an icy one. Instead of salt, let the sun do the melting for you.
Use salt wisely. Only use salt on icy areas and give it time to work. A little goes a long way and salt works best between 0°C and -10°C.
Create traction. Use alternatives like sand or non-clumping kitty litter to create traction instead of salt.
Wear winter boots. Wear a pair of winter boots with good tread to keep you safe and warm.
For more ideas contact: Region of Waterloo, Water Services
Telephone: 519-575-4400; TTY: 519-575-4608 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.curbthesalt.ca
Ontario Cap-and-Trade and Natural Gas Some changes will be reflected on your next utility bill, starting Jan. 1. For the average residential customer, the combined impact of the supply, transportation and delivery rate change is net zero from Kitchener Utilities. Two factors will affect the rate you pay:
1. Ontario cap-and-trade program This provincially legislated program has been introduced to reduce the impacts of climate change. The program places a price on the emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. The new Ontario cap-and-trade charge will be added to the variable delivery rate on your bill. Cap-and-trade will produce an increase of 10 per cent – or about $71 per year – for the average residential gas customer.* *The average residential customer uses 2,100 cubic metres of natural gas annually.
2. Natural gas rate changes Kitchener City Council approved new Kitchener Utilities (KU) natural gas rates, effective Jan. 1, 2017. For the average residential customer, the combined impact of the rate changes is net zero from KU. • Decreased supply rate to 9.5 ¢/m3;
• For M1 customers, decreased delivery rate to 6.9890 ¢/m3
• Increased transportation rate to 5 ¢/m3;
• For M2 customers, reducing the delivery rate tiers to one tier, to 6.1873 ¢/m3.
Our goal is to provide natural gas supply with stable pricing, as our customers expect. That’s why we take a disciplined approach to buying natural gas. We do not make a profit on our natural gas supply and transportation programs; they are operated at cost.
Did you know? Kitchener Utilities customers can now apply for Ontario’s Home Energy Conservation Incentive rebate program. Customers are eligible for a rebate up to $5,000 and must select a certified energy advisor to get started. The incentive is part of the province’s $100 million contribution to the Green Investment Fund, an initiative designed to strengthen the economy and fight climate change. Learn more at www.ohecip.ca
We’re all aware of the damage that freezing rain, snow and ice build-up can cause. Monitor snow and ice build-up on or around your gas meter and exhaust vents. Keep snow and ice clear from the gas meter and exhaust vents. This will allow a consistent flow of natural gas to the appliances, ensure proper venting of your fuel-burning appliances and lower the risk of natural gas build-up in your home. If there is a fire hydrant near your home, make sure the hydrant is clear and accessible in case there is an emergency.
How you can help avoid a problem • USE a broom or a car brush to remove snow from your exhaust vents and gas meter. • KEEP all your vents and meter clear. • MAINTAIN a clear path to your meters. • NEVER kick your vents, meter or piping to clear snow or ice build-up.
• AVOID damaging your vents or meter with a shovel, plow or a snowblower. If a fire hydrant is located close by, avoid piling snow on top and keep clear for visibility purposes. • PLEASE remove icicles from your overhead eavestrough and watch for build-up of freezing rain or water dripping onto your meter. If there is an extremely large build-up on the meter, do not chip it off, call us as there is no charge for ice removal. Got a problem? Suspect a problem? Please call us immediately at 519-741-2529 and select option #3. Have a worry-free winter!
Gas/Water Service Billing Inquiries
about... SNOW parking
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WINTER IN KITCHENER
Look inside for important information on how the City of Kitchener, in co-operation with their residents, can keep all roads and sidewalks as safe as possible this winter! The City of Kitchener is responsible for snow removal on: • public roadways; • sidewalks at city facilities; • crosswalks. As a resident of Kitchener you are required by law to clear the snow and ice from the sidewalks at the front and side of your home or business within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. Uncleared sidewalks can result in dangerous falls for pedestrians, or force them onto the roadways where it is unsafe because of traffic.
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The City of Kitchener is responsible for winter road maintenance including plowing, sanding and salting. All roads are classified as per traffic volumes according to provincial criteria and the city must achieve quality standards that are consistent across the province. In most cases, the city response begins before the snow starts, in the form of applying anti-icing brine, as long as the weather cooperates. A number of factors – including temperature, future forecasts and precipitation – determine how and when plowing, salting or sanding should start. The following is a guide to the level of service you may expect: Snow-plowing priorities Each snow plow is assigned a designated area of the city and clearing is carried out on the basis of the following priorities. 1) Major arterial roads; 2) Major collector roads and GRT bus routes; 3) Local residential streets.
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SNOWabout... SIDEWALKSWINTER IN KITCHENER plowing SIDEWALKS
Why should I shovel my SIDEWALK? Not clearing your sidewalks can result in crews contracted by the city clearing them for you. Residents are required to reimburse the city for the cost of the service. Depending on the size of your lot, this will cost you a minimum of $280.
vernight parking DEWALKS
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Be a good neighbour. Although it’s the law to clear snow and ice from the sidewalk within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall, it’s also the neighbourly thing to do. Snow or ice-covered sidewalks can be treacherous for all residents, especially those who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes or strollers; getting from point A to point B is even tougher when it snows. All pedestrians need you to clear your sidewalks, but especially: • Seniors; • People using assistive devices (crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs or scooters); • People with baby carriages or strollers; • People moving heavy or bulky objects; • People with disabilities.
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SNOWabout... parking Roads cannot be properly plowed when they are blocked by parked cars. IN KITCHENER, there is NO OVERNIGHT PARKING on City of Kitchener streets between December 1 and March 31. Additionally, under the City of Kitchener’s tag-and-tow bylaw, parking is prohibited on all streets at any time a SNOW EVENT is declared until it is cancelled.* Vehicles parked on the street but not towed will also be ticketed. A ticket for parking on-street during a Snow Event is $80. * To receive notices when Snow Events are declared, visit www.kitchener.ca/tagandtow to subscribe.
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Be a SIDEWALKS snow angel
Keeping sidewalks free of ice and snow can be very challenging for older adults and people with limited mobility. As a snow angel, you can be good neighbour by clearing snow for those who need assistance. All you have to do is adopt a sidewalk and keep it clear when it snows. Watch for people in your neighbourhood who could use help with snow and lend them a hand. It’s also a great opportunity for students to complete volunteer hours needed and to exercise outdoors! Tips and tricks WHEN YOU SHOVEL: • Shovel as soon as possible after a snow fall; • Use a proper sized shovel; • Do not shovel snow onto the road; • Keep snow piles low so as not to obstruct the visibility of pedestrians and drivers; • Carefully use safety salt only as necessary and/or sand on the ice; • Snow/ice must be cleared 24 hours after the end of a snowfall; • If you are going away during the winter months, please arrange for your sidewalks to be cleared; • If you suffer heart or other medical problems, do not attempt to shovel snow; • Wherever possible, help your neighbour!
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Tips and tricks for additional SHOW-HOW • Don’t park on the street during a snowstorm. • Keep snow away from fire hydrants, gas meters and vents. • Remind children not to climb or play on snowbanks or to dig forts, as it is dangerous. • Drive smart – give yourself extra time and distance. • Respect the blue light - when sharing the road with plows always have your headlights on and give the plow plenty of room. Oncoming vehicles should stay to the right. • Remember, passing a snow plow on the right side is dangerous as the operator may not be able to see you.
WINTER IN K