Snow an issue with no easy fix

Kamloops Daily News
January 15, 2013 01:00 AM

Kamloops doesn't get a lot of heavy snow as a rule but when it does, residents expect to have the streets cleaned in a timely manner so we can safely navigate our way.

And the City does a pretty good job of clearing snow and sanding icy areas over the 1,650 kilometres of roads it is responsible for, with priority given to major routes and steep hills.

If an inch accumulates, the City also removes snow from the sidewalks of municipally owned properties like pedestrian overpasses, arenas and parking lots, as well as 600 bus stops.

It's a lot of ground to cover and, of course, there is always room for improvement. For example, the recent dumps meant plows pushed up so much snow against some bus stops that they became unusable, creating not only an inconvenience but a safety hazard as people were forced to stand wherever they could while waiting.

It meant a bit of catchup for City crews but they responded to citizen concerns as they learned of problem areas.

There were also some complaints from folks about not being able to access their driveways as leftover snow from plows had built up into a hard crust that was too high to drive over.

Clearing windrows are not the City's responsibility, however.

Able-bodied people are expected to clear the small piles left by the plow along driveways, just as shovelling the sidewalk is the responsibility of homeowners and businesses.

The Snow Angels program can help seniors or people with limited mobility with snow removal but the rest of us have to do it ourselves. It's the same in other snowy cities like Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

If people genuinely want the City to contemplate adding windrow removal to snow-clearing services, they can share their opinions at a

Jan. 29 budget meeting about public works services (7 p.m. at Interior Savings Centre).

But food for thought: a few years ago, the City did a rough calculation of what it would cost to remove windrows. Annual costs, not including upfront costs for equipment to do the work and haul away the snow, would run around a million dollars.

That's an awful lot of money to spread around to taxpayers; perhaps having this on a snow-
removal wish list is not so appealing after all.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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