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LETTER: Summerland’s snow clearing practices should be reviewed

Snow removal methods affect Summerland’s tax rates
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Dear Editor:

I am a relatively new resident to Summerland. My family and I moved here two years ago from the Lower Mainland.

For 31 years, I worked as a unionized municipal worker for the roads and sidewalk department. What I saw on Dec. 10 and 11 brought my blood pressure through the roof.

We have a municipal truck plowing and sanding any trace of snow. They passed five times within an hour.

When I hear that the municipality has no money, this is why.

When you see the plow go by, there are at least two others on shift, a section manager and someone to load the truck. Overtime is time and a half for the first two hours and double for each hour after that. All callouts are double time minimum of three hours each. There is a paid meal break every two hours.

These trucks with the plows use around 50 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. There are around 518 kilometres of roadway in Summerland.

So when you think about your taxes, this could be part of the reason why they are what they are.

The municipality borrowed money to redo Giants Head Road.

There is no money for street sweeping. The roads get swept once a year around March from what I have seen.

All this sand and gravel that is used on snow days only makes it dangerous when left on pavement on dry days. It works like marbles on a hard surface.

Do our elected officials not see that past practices are not working? It is costing all of us.

Council should support a budget for training for all staff in the operations centre to become more progressive.

Where I worked, we had tailgate meetings once a month to discuss WorkSafe policies, municipal policies and the Motor Vehicle Act for commercial vehicles.

We can all look forward to a big tax increase. Municipal employees are working without a contract.

They are due for a raise plus retro pay. Mayor and council are due for a raise, repayment of the loan for Giants Head Road, inflation and new projects.

So my question is if you see a trace of snow on the roadway, does the road need to be plowed and at what cost?

Wayne Gooch


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