- Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

A few council meetings ago, Owen Sound resident Harold Crigger stepped up to the microphone at public question period and asked about the spikes and nails he was riding his bike over on city roads.

A councillor asked staff how often the gutters were cleaned on city streets, and the City manager Wayne Ritchie replied that the street sweeper had been out for repair for some time this season, but every street was swept  “at least once a year.”

After two trips for tire repairs on my car since then, I started to really take notice of all the metal in the gutters as I picked up Timmies cups and cigarette butts. I'd picked it up before and just added it to the trash, but for the past two weeks, I separated it out.

This picture is two week's worth (minus one 1 1/2” wood screw that was still in my purse – don't ask.) It might cover 25 kilometres? of city sidewalk and gutter. Some of it has obviously rusted off vehicles, or broken like the bungee cord. Some I can't identify. And where the eight unused screws, spikes and nails are from is a mystery to me.

What I did not include was food cans – some with the lids still attached – that have clearly fallen or blown from blue boxes into the gutter. These keep cyclists well to the outside of the 8th Street East bike lanes, because hitting one of those would be very dangerous.

My mentors would remind me that the Owen Sound Hub has a mandate to build community and seek solutions, so I'm asking my readers/neighbours here to put their minds together on this.

Is there a way to protect bikes and cars from this metal detritus? Any strategies to reduce or remove it? Your input is far more valuable than your complaints or finger-pointing.

Together we can come up with real answers to our community's legitimately expressed concerns.

(We know you like to chat on social media, but you're also welcome to share your ideas in a letter to the editor – [email protected])







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