Well all you have to do to illicit an emotional response lately is say the word snow. I find it amazing how a four letter word can get so many people get excited. I have done countless blogs about snow, and I doubt this will be my last one. I have to confess I love snow! I don’t hide it, and the more we get the better! It’s not even my favorite season, I love summer just like everybody else. If we are going to have winter though, we might as well have snow. I love going tobogganing with my kids, skidooing and some of my best winter memories were years with big snow where we built snow forts in the yard out of the piles on the lawn. Now I know not everybody enjoys this, but for those that don’t I think you’re missing out.
Now I have to remind myself that snow and snow removal are two very different things. We have spent a lot of time talking about snow removal in the last two years and have had more feedback on this one issue than any other.
What we did hear was some people were happy with the way things were, some thought we could do better, and most didn’t want to pay more. So using those three principles we spent hours looking at snow removal strategy and thought how can we do things better? One of the things we heard loud and clear was that people want snow removal done faster. Under the current procedure it would take us close to three weeks to get everything done. The town is divided into priority routes with residential areas being the last priority item. This can be troublesome because additional new snow may require us to start anew from priority 1 without ever completing the priority cycle. To make things faster we did three things. One, we added an extra grader to our fleet and an operator to drive it. Two, we will no longer come back to clean up areas where we were forced to go around parked cars. If your car is parked on the road during snow removal operations it will be plowed in. Finally, we have asked operations to sacrifice attention to detail. What does this mean? Essentially we said stop cleaning the ends of driveways. This will allow us to get things done much faster. This should allow us to get into the residential areas more often, and there should be less snow for residents to deal with. Operators will be utilizing a snow gate when going by driveways (this removes about 80% of the windrow we normally leave behind). One of the items that people are most excited about in the last couple of days is about where can we put snow. First off when removing snow, we put in the town boulevards. This is usually a section of grass at the end of your lawn (your property line doesn’t go right to the sidewalk). This is not new and has been done for years. With snow on your property we ask you to leave it on your property. The premise on this one is simple. If everybody took all the snow on their property and threw it on town property it would be a nightmare to deal with. You would be walking or driving down the street trying to dodge snow piles and it would be unsafe for everyone. This would be tough even if everybody did theirs at the same time, so you can imagine how big that problem would be if people were doing it on different days which would be the reality! The only way to avoid all this is to haul snow away. The issue here is that it would cost a lot more which contradicts what most people asked for. That being said we are testing some equipment this year to see if it is a road we should go down.
In reality the easiest thing to do would be the same thing we do every year. Its safe and easy. That being said our council truly believes in trying to make things better so we have made some changes. By the end of the season people will either feel like we are on the right track, or people will think we are idiots. Along the way I am sure we will hear from both, and the winner will be whoever is louder at the end of the season. If things get better, we all win and if they don’t we will make changes again. For sure the one thing that will be required more than ever is patience, openness to change, and the realization that council is only trying to make things better and not worse. For updates on what we are doing and where we are working please keep an eye on our Town website and Facebook.