City council signed off on changes to its Winter Roads Management Policy Monday, but the public shouldn’t expect big changes to the number or frequency of plows on the road the next time the snow flies.
They could, however, notice less snow around bus shelters and on major pedestrian routes. Thanks to a bit of additional money set aside during last month’s financial planning session, the city will now be able to devote more staff time to clearing sidewalks adjacent to city properties, along major roadways and “primary pedestrian corridors” as well as around bus stops, “when practical, based on location and equipment available,” according to the updated policy.
These changes come as a result of the review requested by council in September and the feedback received during the public survey in October, where 76 per cent of online respondents and 71 per cent of phone respondents said funding should be increased to cover the costs of snowclearing sidewalks along major routes. During financial planning sessions last month, the city added “up to $30,000” to their snow clearing budget for leasing a piece of equipment – until something can be purchased outright this year, which was also approved – and run it under the current staffing budget.
Sidewalks will be cleared, according to the policy, “based on equipment/resources available,” and the level of service and areas being cleared “will be reviewed annually.”