What is the legal test for removing snow and ice from a catch basin?

Prince Edward Island, Canada

The following excerpt is from Kennedy v. City of Charlottetown, 2003 PESCTD 59 (CanLII):

When the plaintiff in the Tweedy case arrived at his home at approximately 5:15 p.m. on the date in question, he observed surface water running down Kingston Avenue and entering his driveway, then continuing on the surface of the driveway until it entered his garage and thence to the basement. He relieved the source of the problem by using a pick-axe to remove some two feet of snow and ice from the top of the catch basin located adjacent to his driveway and creating a channel in the snow for the water to run to the catch basin. The question posed by the court was whether the municipality owed a duty to the plaintiffs to keep the opening clear under the conditions that existed on the date in question. The court concluded that, without question, the village owned the catch basin and had a duty to maintain it. In the case at bar, there is no question but that the City owned the ditches and the culverts which are at the root of the problem. The City relies on para. 9 of the Tweedy decision: 9. Here, however the problem was surface water and not water and debris contained totally within a system owned and maintained by the municipality. The reality is that given the climate experienced in this area surface systems such as manhole covers, catch basins and even culverts will become ice and snow - clogged from time to time. To expect a municipality to keep them cleaned and fully operational all the time is to place to high an onus on the municipality. The municipality, according to its witness, the maintenance supervisor, suggested the catch basins were not inspected regularly for snow and ice cover as this would prove prohibitive financially. This is a policy decision. See: Just v. British Columbia, 1989 CanLII 16 (SCC), [1989] 2 S.C.R. 1228 (S.C.C.).

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