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Tag: Alexa Levair

Yellow snow plow on icy road

Pincher Creek drafting new snow-removal policy

Any talk of snow during the summer is typically considered blasphemous, though in a place like Pincher Creek the risk of flurries is never zero.

“I’ve seen snow in every month in this place,” Mayor Don Anderberg said with a chuckle during Pincher Creek council’s July 5 committee of the whole meeting.

The topic of the dreaded white stuff stemmed from a request from administration for council members to brainstorm what principles and values should guide the town’s snow-removal policy, which is due for an overhaul.

“We’ve looked at our existing policy and think that this is great time, rather than tweaking it, to just start fresh and set what are the expectations,” said director of operations Alexa Levair.

“That gives us a better idea of what council is looking for when we’re coming back and presenting some policy options moving forward.”

In general, administration was looking for what the town’s priorities should be regarding areas plowed, if snow removal should emphasize residents’ ability to drive versus walk, and what target should be set for costs.

Since snow removal has a multitude of options the town could pursue, community feedback would be key, Levair added.

“Snow removal is one of the most talked-about issues amongst the community and residents. We are recommending that council direct us to draft a public engagement strategy so we can gather some feedback that we can then provide back to council saying this is what we heard back from the community,” she said.

 

 

Coun. Sahra Nodge said she wanted to make sure public engagement included Pincher Creek’s schools due to the specific concerns of busing and students walking to school.

“I’m wanting to make sure there’s safe travel before school hours,” she said. “There’s a lot more encouragement for kids walking to school, so it’s important to ensure there are safe crosswalks in the school areas [and] that those crosswalks aren’t being obstructed by snow piles.”

Accessibility was something Coun. Wayne Oliver said the policy should consider, such as clearing windrows in front of driveways or making sure the parking lot at town office is clear. Adaptability, he added, was something the policy needed to consider too.

“We all know in southern Alberta it could look different one year to the next, one month to the next,” Coun. Oliver said.

“Two inches of snow but a 60-kilometre wind from the east is going to leave us with something that is different than two inches of snow with a 60-kilometre wind from the west, so whatever we design in our policy certainly has to have adaptability baked into it,” he said. “Here’s the budget challenge, because we never know year to year what kind of snow we’re going to get.”

Mayor Anderberg suggested creating a municipal reserve for snow removal could offer stability between years with little snowfall and those with a lot. Revisiting enforcement for clearing sidewalks, he continued, was also something he wanted council to consider.

“I get a lot of good feedback about how the town does their work as far as snow removal on the streets,” the mayor said. “The one piece of negative feedback I get a lot is private sidewalks, commercial space — how that snow is handled or not handled — which we used to enforce fairly heavily at one time. It doesn’t seem we enforce heavily now.”

Administration will take the next few weeks to consider council’s discussion and draft a new snow-removal policy, which will be reviewed by council at the next committee of the whole meeting, scheduled for Aug 2.

The next regular council meeting will be held Monday, July 24, 6 p.m. in council chambers.

Yellow snow plow on icy road

Snow and ice policy under review

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.”

 

Ascent Dental Ad – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

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.”

 

Riteline Electric Ad – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

More from the Breeze:

Skiers and boarders get early start at Castle Mountain Resort

Pincher Creek winter weather extremes

Critical water lines to be repaired in Pincher Creek

 

Laurie Tritschler author information. Photo of red-haired man with moustache, beard and glasses, wearing a light blue shirt in a circle over a purple accent line with text details and connection links

Wooden playground equipment and a yellow slide at the Pincher Creek town playground

Town council considers renos and rebuilding

Both plans were addressed at council’s Jan. 4 committee of the whole meeting, where council voted to accept assessment reports and construction estimates submitted by the Calgary consulting firm, Stephenson Engineering.

Council has neither awarded construction contracts, nor set aside money for either project in this year’s budget. 

Stephenson’s reports to council highlight a lack of suitable office space at both sites, recommending an estimated $3.2-million overhaul to the town office at 962 St. John Ave., and a roughly $8.5-million build for a new works yard near the current yard at 1068 Kettles St.

The town office was converted from an elementary school in the 1990s and, while council chambers and some civic offices were built in the facilities’ east wing, the west wing’s classrooms, gymnasium and washrooms designed for children remain largely unchanged. 

Stephenson recommends building a new parking lot where the children’s playground now stands, plus more offices and an expansion to council chambers. The firm meanwhile recommends holding on to the gym in the west wing.

 

Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

Speaking at the committee of the whole meeting, Alexa Levair, who replaced Al Roth as director of operations last November, told council that Roth had kept his office in a defunct classroom for lack of office space. 

The town would rebuild the playground, Levair told council. 

The town’s works yard is too old and too congested to be refurbished, Stephenson concluded. The report details an acute lack of office space, plus a number of accessibility barriers. At one point, the report highlights that “Only one change room is provided (at the works yard), so it is not suitable for any female staff.” 

Council has not resolved construction timelines for either project. Stephenson’s report recommends running the existing operations yard while replacement facilities are built at a town-owned site bounded by Table Mountain and McEachern streets to the north and south, and Mountain View Avenue and Allison Street to the west and east. 

Stephenson factored in a 20 per cent contingency in its cost estimations for both projects.

 

 

Blinds and More Ad – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

 

Read more from the Breeze

Child-care crunch looms amid staffing shortage

Town CAO to retire after storied career

Group Group Youth drop-in centre gets facelift

 

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta

 

Laurie Tritschler author information. Photo of red-haired man with moustache, beard and glasses, wearing a light blue shirt in a circle over a purple accent line with text details and connection links