Winnipeg's Surefoot slips up

surefoot.org

surefoot.org

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:21 PM ET

WINNIPEG - It’s a website aimed at keeping the public informed on winter sidewalk conditions, to prevent slips and falls. But it has stumbled somewhere along the way.

And questions have arisen as to whether SureFoot.org has fallen, and can’t get up.

While Winnipeg endured its first significant snowfall of the season on Saturday, SureFoot.org highlighted a forecast of temperatures between 23 C and 28 C with sunny conditions and a “chance of rain.”

Watching a snowstorm arrive outside, critics took to Twitter to point out the obvious failure of the “winter walking conditions bulletin” that hadn’t been updated for months following its launch early this year through co-operation between the City of Winnipeg and other companies and agencies.

“What value is it, if it’s not kept up to date? That’s not good,” Coun. Harvey Smith, who had helped spearhead the website last February, said of SureFoot.

“If you want to rely on something and can’t rely on it, you’re up the creek. That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. We’ve gone to all this trouble, and I expect it to be working.”

Billed as “the world’s first program aimed at reducing injuries caused by falls on ice and snow through daily public bulletins,” SureFoot.org is the product of a joint effort of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), the Manitoba Falls Prevention Network, Canadian Footwear, the Winnipeg Committee for Safety and other organizations.

Municipal spokesman Steve West pointed out that while the city is a partner, SureFoot is administered by a third party and isn’t firmly connected to the public works department — despite the website stating that it’s based on “daily field observations taken throughout the winter months” by streets maintenance staff.

“It’s a totally external site. But on Twitter, we’re certainly being credited for it today,” West said.

“We don’t have access to update it. And what’s happened is, I guess, the updates have been turned off.”

The city was trying on Saturday to contact the website’s operator to update it, West added, “or to take it down, or whatever. Obviously it’s providing the wrong information, so that’s not good for anyone.”

At the same time, though, there were suggestions that SureFoot might have fallen fatally. A city hall source said it seems that “SureFoot.org is ended,” partly due to the new PreventFalls.ca — a WRHA initiative striving to prevent injuries due to falls by older adults and children.

PreventFalls.ca has been set up in conjunction with Falls Prevention Week, which ends Sunday.

“It doesn’t appear,” West said, “that the city has been advised about discontinuation of the SureFoot website.”

ross.romaniuk@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @RossRomaniuk

 


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