Two ideas on snow removal to make everyone happy

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
January 10, 2018 - 5:02am
Windrow removal equipment at work in city of Vaughan, Ont. ( photo):

KAMLOOPS — Since everybody else has ideas on what to do about snow removal, I may as well offer my own two cents.

In a column a few days ago I took a friendly dig at urbanites for not counting their snow-removal blessings but I have a couple of serious observations.

If there’s a deficiency in urban snow-clearing, it’s in the detail. For example, the windrows-in-the-driveways issue has been raised every single winter for decades, and nothing is ever done about it. The reason is cost.

It’s too expensive to remove those mini-snow banks, say the experts, so get out the shovels. But other cities do it.

Edmonton, for example, sets up a schedule for windrow removal and tickets vehicles if they’re left in the way.

In Grande Prairie, a pilot project is underway and various types of equipment are being tried.

And, our friendly neighbor to the north, Prince George, strives for “reasonable access” to driveways.

There are lots of other examples. So why not cost out options, ranging from 100-per-cent windrow removal to removal only for seniors and the disabled, to a subsidy program.

How much would City taxpayers be willing to add to their taxes? Ten dollars a year? Forty?

Here’s another detail worth looking at. I came upon a friend of mine downtown the other day who was trying in vain to get off the street and onto the sidewalk. He has a recent hip injury and it was simply impossible for him to get over the built-up mounds of snow and ice without help.

How about putting some money into smaller pieces of equipment and more labour to get on top of that faster?

I think a review of the snow program is a good idea, especially because the weather out there isn’t going to get any better. Climatologists say the freezing rain belt is moving north and we’re going to get more and more of the yo-yo weather we’ve been getting so far this winter.

Now’s a good time to look at options.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.