The Tomato

snowblower
The student-run initiative designed to clear sidewalks has received backlash from the University of Ottawa community due to its “poor design” and “terrible planning.” Image: Hailey Otten/Fulcrum
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The Blow-Man 9000 was not good at sucking snow

A student-run initiative designed to clear sidewalks has received backlash from the University of Ottawa community due to its “poor design” and “terrible planning.”

The Snow-Blowers, a new U of O club, was created in early January with an objective to “keep Ottawa’s sidewalks clean and sleek.” The club’s first project was to create a machine specifically designed to clear sidewalks and pathways.

A prototype of the “Blow-Man 9000” was first put to use last Monday after the fierce snowstorm that swept much of the province away. However, some club members pointed out some flaws in its design.

“It literally just blows the snow back onto the street,” said Iye Ciclé, a third-year mechanical engineering student and secretary of the club. “We did a test in front of my house, but it was as if the plows didn’t come to our street.”

Ciclé claims there must be an error with the calculations, because no matter what direction the Blow-Man 9000 follows, the snow ends up on the nearest road again.

“We even tested it out on an empty street in Nepean, but it only goes back onto the road. I don’t drive, so it doesn’t bother me, but it feels like trouble waiting to happen,” she said.

Di Daniels, a fourth-year international management student and Ciclé’s roommate, said that the concept, and the club itself, is ridiculous. 

“I couldn’t leave our house in nearly a week because of their tests. Not like I could go anywhere, but why does the club exist when we have snowblowers?” said Daniels.