Categories: Local News

Would you pay for better snow removal?

The City of St. Albert wants resident input on snow and ice removal.

St. Albert could have curb-to-curb snow clearing – but it would add a couple of million dollars to the already expensive snow removal budget.

The city, through an online survey, a telephone survey, and open-house type sessions on Wednesday and today, was looking to educate residents on what the current snow and ice control policies are and find out how citizens feel about the current service.

Jim Dinwoodie, manager of infrastructure, roads and sidewalks for the city, said the residents will also be asked what, if anything, they’d like the city to improve about snow and ice control.

“We can do anything you want, it just takes money,” Dinwoodie said.

The survey available at Servus Place on Wednesday included questions about support for parking bans, and about the level of support for raising taxes to pay for a higher level of snow removal.

Dinwoodie said there’s been a couple of scenarios of increased snow removal levels created. Those scenarios could add $1 million to $2.5-million to the snow and ice control budget, which was budgeted at about $3.5 million for 2015.

What would $2.5 million more for snow removal buy?

“It’s an educated guess, but it’ll get you bare pavement most of the time,” Dinwoodie said, adding that St. Albert Trail would get plowed in four hours instead of eight and the timeline around other roads would decrease.

The minimum amount of snow needed for the equipment to be called out would also decrease.

“We would hit the roads faster, quicker, and instead of waiting until 12 centimetres, we would wait for five,” he said.

But the public works department is looking at more than simply asking for an increase to its budget.

Dinwoodie said ideas also include how to best use the current snow and ice budget and perhaps tweak technologies or techniques used. One example is buying a blade attachment that would double the width covered by a plow truck.

“We already have the truck, we would just need the attachment,” Dinwoodie said.

The public consultation results will be part of a snow service level review currently being conducted. The review will be presented to council by the end of June to get council direction.

Gordon Cochrane was one of the few people who attended the early hours of the evening session on Wednesday.

He’s not happy with the current snow removal service. While Cochrane’s not concerned about getting the roads down to bare pavement, he thinks the snow-covered roads could be left smoother than they are.

He’s also wondering if the resources could be used more effectively, like having equipment do removal while it’s en route to its next stop.

“It’s a big concern when we are having resources not being utilized to the maximum,” Cochrane said.

Cochrane encouraged people who have concerns about snow and ice control in St. Albert to make their feelings known via today’s public consultation session at St. Albert Centre from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There’s also an online survey available on the city’s website.

St. Albert Gazette: The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.