Township’s operations staff are gearing up for winter and hoping not to have a repeat of last year.
Brian Edey, roads operation manager for the Township, said it has 5,000 tonnes of salt in storage so they have no worries about running out.
“In a typical winter, we use 1,000 tonnes.
“Last year, we used more than 6,500 tonnes.”
The Township has various weather sources they consult for the forecast and from what they are seeing, with an El Nina year, they are expecting a winter similar to last year, but not as cold.
“There is lots of precipitation in the forecast, so it could be snow or it could come in the form of rain. One degree can make all the difference,” said Edey.
“Last year, we never really warmed up past one degree so all of the precipitation came as snow.”
In May, Edey provided Township council with a report on last year’s snow removal and proposed a higher budget for this winter. Council voted to keep the budget status quo, he said.
“We did add one two-tonne truck for plowing and we built some smaller plows in-house. So now each of the Township’s four sectors will have their own plow. That’s an improvement from last year.”
But if there is heavy snowfall, there will be some residential roads that won’t get plowed by the Township.
“We have first priority roads that we work on 24/7, like 200th, 16 Avenue and Fraser Highway,” he explained. “Then we have collector roads. Those are done during working hours. Then third in priority is local roads, and based on council policy, we get to them if we can.”
But the Township doesn’t have the right equipment to get into narrow streets with plows.
“Last winter we couldn’t get into most roads because everyone had parked their cars on the road making it impossible for our equipment to fit in there,” he said.
The Township faced some criticism for not getting to some residential streets in Walnut Grove and other areas, which led to many roads turning into thick sheets of ice.
“I think what we’ve learned from last year is to get to roads with brine before the snow starts.
“The brine, which is just salt and water mixed together, prevents the ice forming on the road,” he said.