City sticking to current snow removal procedures

Cost of removing snow banks from city streets would quickly become expensive, as would the use of snow gates

Cranbrook council found that the cost of removing snow banks from city streets would quickly become expensive, as would the use of snow gates to clear snow from in front of driveways.

At the Monday, Feb. 3 regular meeting, city staff outlined the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the additional snow removal services. The street clearing information came as a result of a council inquiry on behalf of a resident.

CAO Wayne Staudt explained that, based on the city estimates, plowing snow to the middle of the road, then using a snow blower to load it into a truck and haul it away would cost $462,913 for every centimetre of snow that falls on the 198 kms of city streets. Staudt said it would take 609 hours to perform the task.

With an average annual snowfall of 141cm between 2007 and 2011, snow would need to be removed 14 times over a winter season at an annual cost of $6.5 million.

“As you can see there are significant costs associated with that, probably beyond our financial abilities,” Staudt said. “So it’s not likely we’ll be doing that.”

He noted the other issue was the volume of snow which would need to be transported and piled in a large landsite, something the city doesn’t currently possess. City staff estimated that the average annual snowfall would amount to 4.2 million cubic metres for the 198 km of streets. The current area used to accommodate snow cleared from the roads is only 8,400 square metres.

Staudt said that snow fences are a useful tool in the removal of snow and prevent the windrow from ending up in driveways.

“But of course there are significant costs with this,” he said. “When it snows, one of our biggest problems is cars parked on the road. If we could get all the vehicles off the road when it snows, that would facilitate snow removal and would avoid some of these issues people have, including that parked vehicle being plowed in.”

He said the city appreciates when people move their vehicles off the street after a heavy snowfall.

He said while snow gates likely wouldn’t be brought forward by staff as an option for 2014, it could be an option for 2015 or beyond.