Town council has directed administration to review its snow and ice policy, following a flurry of complaints by concerned residents.
Alexa Levair, Pincher Creek’s director of operations, was asked to speak to the town’s snow and ice policy when council met at last week’s committee of the whole. The policy, which is available for viewing on the town’s website, prioritizes hills, emergency routes and the downtown core along Main Street for sanding and snowplowing.
School zones and traffic signs are listed as second- and third-level priorities.
Councillors said they’d heard complaints over the Christmas holiday from residents who felt their streets ought to have been plowed.
“I was definitely told by some members of our community that Adelaide Street wasn’t being looked after,” Coun. Mark Barber told the committee, referring to a nearby condominium complex that caters to seniors.
“I was hoping that the seniors centres were on high-priority snow removal,” he added.
Levair reminded council that, while such complaints are common, Pincher Creek’s snow and ice policy doesn’t prioritize residential streets.
Despite prevalent misconceptions to the contrary, Levair pointed out that “We aren’t actively plowing every single residential road whenever it snows.”
The town has neither the staff and equipment nor the budget to do much more in terms of plowing and removing snow, she explained.
Mayor Don Anderberg said he’d heard similar complaints, but suggested that a previous council had prioritized snowplowing on Hewetson Avenue leading up to the intersection of Adelaide Street.
Speaking at her office Thursday, Levair said snowplowing isn’t as easy as it might appear.
“Wherever you plow snow, you have to put it somewhere else,” she said, explaining that snow has to be carted away when it piles up. It’s certainly not impossible, but it is time-consuming and costly, she later told Shootin’ the Breeze.
The committee of the whole passed a motion directing Levair to look into whether or not council had upped snowplowing and removal near Adelaide Street.
The director of operations said she planned to bring the town’s snow and ice policy back to council for review this summer.
“It’s about finding a balance,” she said from her office at the town works yard. “Ultimately, it’s council who sets that balance.”