With the early December mild weather, most people weren’t thinking about snow removal. But after the recent blast of winter, it’s definitely on most people’s minds. The cold and snow can hit fast, catching many off guard. And while hiring a snow removal service isn’t part of the winter plan for most, it may be worth considering.
Environment Canada reports that St. Albert and the capital region get plenty of snow most years. November to January numbers range from 16 to 25 centimetres of snow over about 10 days in each of those months. From February to April, 13 to 15 cm can fall on about four to seven snow days each month.
“Over the last ten years, we’ve probably averaged seven snowfalls per month from November to April,“ says Jon Green of St. Albert’s Eagle Maintenance and Landscaping. The long time, father-son company has plenty of loyal customers who sign yearly contracts for snow removal. “We guarantee we’ll be out within 24 hours of a snowfall—if you can see your footprint in the snow, that’s enough for us to come out.”
Green says customers include seniors, snowbirds, those with back issues, landlords or those who just don’t want to do the job. A signed contract and post-dated monthly cheques (from $160 to $220 monthly depending on yard size, length of driveway) manages expectations for all, says Green. “If people want sand or salt, we can do that, but some don’t want to damage the driveway or grass. But you have to compare apples to apples when looking at companies. Are they insured? How often will they come out? You want a signed agreement spelling it all out.”
Armed with shovels, ice melt, snow blowers and chippers, Green and company make quick work of the sidewalks and driveways at over 100 local residential customers. It’s similar for SNL Services, snow and lawn specialists serving St. Albert, Edmonton and Morinville. Jerry Van Tent and Joe Ivicak do a brisk business with monthly and seasonal snow-removal contracts, though the pair says it does occasional one-time sessions too.
“Some people try to save a buck and wait until there’s a foot of snow before they call us in,” says Ivicak. “But we have to charge accordingly. A foot of snow takes a lot longer, with more manpower than when we come out after a quarter-inch falls. But most customers want peace of mind that they’ll be able to get in and out of their driveway at any moment. We come when it’s still snowing, and we go out every day if it’s snowing every day. We don’t leave it to pile up.”
SNOW REMOVAL IN ST. ALBERT
Homeowners are responsible for clearing the sidewalk in front of their property and keeping access to fire hydrants open (a one-metre clearance for emergency access is required).
The City provides free sand (blended with calcium chloride to prevent freezing) for residents at some 30 sandbox locations around town. These include the St. Albert Centre Bus Terminal, St. Albert Community Hall, Fountain Park Pool and at schools and outdoor rinks.