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Can snow removal in Comox Valley get any worse?
A letter to the newspaper seems to be the only alternative that a taxpayer has left to him to try and deal with Emcon’s very poor snow removal performance.
Making phone calls to Emcon Services and our local MLA have seen absolutely no change for improvement. We would like to make this point very clear that this letter is directed to the administration of Emcon Services and not with its employees.
We have lived in the present location for over 40 years and at one time enjoyed very good road cleaning performance when this was done by our local loggers, with their log skidders setup with snow plow blades.
We would get our back roads cleaned before the highways department could clean the main highway. This was a political embarrassment for the highways department, as they could not compete with the individual contractors' dedication and willingness to perform for long hours.
These individual contractors were immediately responsive to the work required to be done when the snow came. The highways department did not renew the individual contractors, stating that they had the resources and it would be economic for them to do the roads.
From that point on, the snow removal for both main highway roads and side roads began to deteriorate. The ministry got rid of the highways department and replaced them with a contractor, Emcon Services, which again was on the pretense that we were to obtain better service for less cost than what the government-run highway department could do.
Alas, we continue on a downward trend as Emcon has not done anything that I can see to improve the service for the money we pay as taxpayers.
Case in point, on Saturday, Feb. 22, it started snowing and continued all through the night and into Sunday, and finally stopped on Monday. On Sunday at 8 a.m. the main highway had not yet been plowed and when we returned home at noon, it still had not been plowed.
This was a very dangerous situation for any traffic that needed to travel, including emergency vehicles. We were left until late Wednesday afternoon before our road was finally plowed — that’s five days from the first snow.
Can this get any worse — I expect it will, if we as taxpayers continue to accept poor performance. Our situation is that we have gone from having our roads cleaned within hours after the first snow fell, to now five days.
These side roads should have been plowed at least once before 5 a.m. Monday to allow people could get to work and earn the incomes necessary for a good economy. We are paying more taxes than we did for less service and this is not acceptable.