York Green Party

Snow Wardens show us what counts

15 February 2012

Voluntary Snow Wardens took to the streets with spades and shovels during last week's cold and snow, clearing foot paths and cycle tracks for the community.

York had an unusually thick snowfall during the first weekend of February, with a couple of smaller top-ups later in the week. The roads were reduced to slippery ruts, pedestrian and bike paths were buried under snow and ice. Newspaper headlines threatened Siberian conditions for a fortnight, and many of us feared to venture out of doors.

Some of us were lucky enough to have a Snow Warden living in the street, which meant stepping out onto snow-free, gritted and safe pedestrian paths within a day of the first fall. Snow Wardens sign up to clear snow and ice from their street's footpaths, thus protecting the safety and convenience of their neighbours during the more extreme wintry weather.

The venture, energetically forwarded by Andy D'Agorne, is still very new, and the citywide team is limited to 60 odd participants at the time of writing. So some neighbourhoods will have been blessed with clear paths, and others not. And some Snow Wardens went well beyond the call of duty, trying to get as much pavement clean and dry as possible!

Both Andy D'Agorne and Andy Chase, well known within York's Green community, were spotted scraping and shovelling throughout that first weekend. Andy Chase cleared Micklegate paths through the moonlit hours of Saturday night. Andy D'Agorne took advantage of Sunday's bright sunshine to clear an essential bike access path between Hospital Fields Road and New Walk (the River Walk Way). He also freed up a school crossing and a bus stop or two, as well as the footpath along his own street.

Andy D snow warden

My own street was made safe by another member of the team - if I knew their name, I'd thank them personally! In fact, I figure it's time to volunteer myself. Snow Wardens get safety training from the CY Council, as well as their personal high-viz jacket, gloves and snow-shovel. They venture out once or twice a year, make a telling effort whilst most of us are indoors complaining about the weather, and spend the rest of the year basking in the glory of their heroism. What's not to like?

And no - you don't have to dig a mile to qualify! Just doing one street is plenty.

If you're tempted to sign up, contact shapingneighbourhoods@york.gov.uk, or phone the Neighbourhood Management Unit at the City of York Council:01904 551832.

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