By Mary Gick
Worried about walking during winter? With Ottawa’s frequent freeze/thaw cycles, accumulated snow and ice can lead to problems getting around, especially for seniors, young children, people using strollers and those with mobility challenges. Falling on an icy sidewalk and injuring yourself can also be a concern. Seniors may become isolated when they stay home due to fear of falling.
How walkable is the Glebe during winter? Become a Snow Mole and find out! Snow Moles take short walks outside, alone or in a group, and complete a brief online or paper survey of the conditions during their walk. Data gathered in the surveys will be used by the Council on Aging of Ottawa to inform the city of ways to improve walkability in winter. For more information about snow moles go to coaottawa.ca/snowmoles/. See below for details on completing snow mole audits alone or in upcoming group audits in the Glebe.
SOLO SNOW MOLE AUDIT
Anybody can be a Snow Mole. Pick a time in February or March when you need to go out to a typical destination (e.g. the bank, a grocery store, school or university, the library, the Glebe Community Centre, Abbotsford Seniors Centre). Snow Moles can complete audits at any time, but walks completed after winter weather such as a snowfall are especially useful.
Use the Snow Mole questionnaire to audit your walk. Go to coaottawa.ca/ snowmoles to access the questionnaire (printed or online) and to fill in the survey. If using a paper survey, mail it to the Council on Aging of Ottawa, 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa K1H 6K9.
GROUP SNOW MOLE AUDITS
Although anybody can be a Snow Mole, we are especially looking for seniors, people with young children and those with mobility aids or challenges. We will first gather indoors at given times and locations (see box). Then we will take a short walk (about 15 minutes) in smaller groups along different routes on side streets leading to agreed destinations. After the walk, we will complete surveys either online or on a personal device, or on paper copies that will be provided back at the indoor meeting place. We will finish with an optional group discussion. Note that walks will happen in any weather.
Thank you for becoming a Glebe Snow Mole and helping to make winter walking in Ottawa a healthy and safe activity!
For further information and to confirm your participation contact Mary Gick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Gick is a Glebe resident interested in safe and healthy winter walking. The Snow Mole project is organized by the Age-Friendly Pedestrian Safety & Walkability Committee at the Council on Aging of Ottawa. It is supported by the Health Committee of the Glebe Community Association.