Clearing the snow

The municipality’s clearing schedule gives top priority to collector roads, bus routes and possible danger areas.

The heavy snowfall last week left some motorists waiting as municipal crews cleared the streets.

The winter storm dumped 27 centimetres of snow on the community over a two-day period and had municipal crews working long hours to clear the streets.

The municipality’s clearing schedule gives top priority to collector roads, bus routes and possible danger areas. Quiet roads in flat areas are given a lower priority.

In the future, main routes in Trout Creek will also receive a higher snow clearing priority.

The change to the snow removal policy for Trout Creek is necessary, since traffic patterns have changed in that area over the years.

The increased volume of traffic now justifies a quicker response to snow removal in this area.

At the same time, it is important to remember that not all roads in Summerland can be cleared as quickly as some would prefer.

The municipality is limited by the amount of snow clearing equipment and the size of its public works staff.

Furthermore, snowfalls like the one last week are rare in Summerland, occurring around once a decade.

The story is the same in other Okanagan communities. It takes time to clean up after an unusually high volume of snow has fallen.

It is possible for Summerland or other communities to revisit snow clearing in order to clean up quickly after a winter storm, but this would involve additional equipment and additional staff. The costs of doing this would be borne by the taxpayers.

The wisest approach is to make some compromises — to ensure the community is prepared to handle typical winter conditions, even if this means some inconvenience during the winter weather anomalies.