City council has created a $400,000 Snow and Ice Control Reserve (SICR) to provide contingency funding and quick reaction in case of a unusual snowfall or an extreme weather event.
Council decided during Monday night’s meeting that money for the fund will come from the City’s tax stabilization reserve.
The new reserve was unanimously approved by council with little discussion.
Councillor Tara Veer says the reserve shows council is responding to the public’s concerns about snow removal.
“I think you saw that in the budget, there was an extra $600,000 overall put in for snow removal. And now we’ve established a snow reserve fund to address large snow events and this spring we are going to completely review our snow policy. Hopefully there will be some revisions that will resolve the public’s concerns about this,” she said.
Councillor Chris Stephan added, “We keep getting feedback from the people in Red Deer that there’s a need, especially right now, for more plowing of residential roads, the ruts aren’t getting any smaller, and I hope it’s coming. We’re reviewing the policy so that hopefully in future years the snow removal will be more satisfactory, particularly in residential areas.”
Councillor Cindy Jefferies said she does get a few phone calls and e-mails complaining about snow removal.
“Relatively speaking I don’t think it’s over the top. When I think of the size of the job that is done, overall I’d say they’re doing a good job, but I don’t think we’re ever going to make everyone happy. We’re committed to doing a review of our snow removal policies and make sure we meet most of the needs of the community.”
SICR will be reviewed annually by the City manager and become part of the City’s annual operating budget.
In addition, residential plowing will begin in the City as early as Saturday upon completion of the Priority 3 (collector roadway) removals.
City crews expect that it will take about 25 days to plow and windrow the more than 225 kms of residential roads. This plowing will place the City in a better position to handle additional snowfall during the remaining winter months and to prepare for the spring melt.
“We have had a lot of snow over the last month and crews have been working around the clock clearing our Priority 1, 2 and 3 roadways,” said Greg Sikora, public works manager. “After assessing the condition of our residential streets we know it’s time to get our crews out there to keep these roads passable and in good driving condition.”
Plowing will result in snow windrows being placed on the even side of the road. Crews will take special care not to obstruct driveways as a result of plowing; however, some on-street parking will be reduced because of the snow windrows.
“We do realize that some residential roads may not require clearing; however, we are concerned that additional snow and warm conditions may make these roads impassable in the spring,” said Sikora.