Heavy February snowfall has forced city to plow through budget

By Chad Klassen
March 1, 2018 - 5:15pm

KAMLOOPS — It's been a tough year for city crews removing snow. A big snowfall, followed by a short break, and then more snow. 

"It's been a very challenging winter with the amount of snow we've gotten, when the snow occurred," said streets and environmental services manager Glen Farrow. "It seems like we get everything cleaned up, the arterials and collectors looking great, right how we need to be hitting those servic levels, and then the snow comes again."

Environment Canada says it's been the fourth snowiest February on record in Kamloops with 50 centimetres. The average in February in around eight centimetres on average, but this year's snow blew that away.

READ: February a month of weather extremes in Kamloops

With the increase in the snowfall so far this year, which marks 70 centimetres total between January and February, Farrow noted that 60 per cent of the city's $1.6 million budget for snow removal has been spent in 2018. The average at this time of year is 25 per cent of the annual budget. 

"We removed snow in the business districts in the downtown core and Tranquille market three times this year. In my time here, we've never hauled that much snow," said Farrow. "The amount of snow we've been hauling this year has been significant and that's where our costs really add up. When we start hauling snow, we bring in a lot of contractors, graders, trucks, and when we do that we're looking at $10,000 a night."

Unlike the record snowfall in January 2015, this winter has seen lots of snow over a long period of time. 

"If we look back at January 2015, it was one huge event and then it warmed up over the next couple weeks after that," noted Farrow. "What we've seen this year is quite a few heavy snowfalls, as well as the weather has remained at -5°C to -8°C for a long duration. So we're not seeing any of that melt, so it continues to accumulate."

But Environment Canada is forecasting warmer temperatures well above the 0°C mark with the mercury hitting 9°C next Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

City prepares for snow melt