City considers scaling back snow clearing on Winnipeg residential streets
Published Tuesday, October 8, 2013 12:44PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, October 8, 2013 5:45PM CST
City hall is considering reducing the amount of snow removed from some residential streets in Winnipeg.
A report says the move would save $2 to $3 million dollars a year.
Instead of those streets cleared from curb to curb and right down to the cement, smaller plows would clear a strip down the middle.
That proposal doesn’t sit well with some residents.
“They should do a full snow removal, right down to the pavement, and make it accessible for people to be able to move their cars,” said Winnipegger Rebecca Cramer. “You reduce the ability for people to be able to get to and from their car because you reduce the amount of snow clearing. I think that’s ridiculous.”
Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said the city could follow the report’s suggestion for reduced snow clearing as a one-year pilot project.
Browaty pointed out that major routes and streets with schools would still get completely cleared.
Scaling back clearing on some residential streets could also reduce costs by reducing the amount of curbs damaged by plows doing curb-to-curb work.
But the city’s public works chair, Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), wants more information before making a decision.
"I like the fact that it's going to save us a lot of curb work in the new year but…I want to know the effects on people and safety,” said Vandal.
The police union also worries about response times.
“I hope it doesn’t devolve to the point where we have a set of snowshoes in cruiser cars,” said Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association.
“With the current cruiser cars that we have now, they're only equipped with radial tires so they don't have the snow tires and many police vehicles are not equipped with four-wheel drive so there's significant traction issues,” said Sutherland.
So far, no firm decisions have been made by the city on the snow clearing policy.
The report goes to the mayor’s executive policy committee Wednesday, Oct. 9.
The report also suggested adding a new fee for homeowners to help pay for the snow budget. None of the councillors who spoke to CTV News Tuesday thought that was a good idea. Many pointed out snow clearing is a basic service covered by taxes.
- with a report from Jeff Keele