By the time this article is published, spring hopefully will have arrived. I’d like to take this time to raise an important question about The City’s Snow and Ice Program (SNIC). At the time of writing, the amount of snowfall in February has been higher than any other February in the past 5 years. There were two snow bans as a result of multiple heavy back-to-back snow falls. On secondary and neighbourhood roads, under current practices, The City cuts down impassable spots, levels out ruts, and sands and salts the driving lanes. It does not include:
- Plowing entire street widths, from curb to curb
- Plowing down to bare pavement
- Removing snow
There was much discussion on whether the City should start plowing residential streets and removing windrows. A one-time snow removal city-wide would cost 15 million dollars. A single snow removal is equivalent to a one-percent tax increase. This is primarily related to hauling all of the materials away and some environmental costs as well. A “general” rule of thumb is that snow removal is 10 ten times the cost of snow clearing due to how labour intensive it is, and the storage infrastructure needed to accommodate it. Currently, Calgarians get significant value for their snow clearing budget as we have the lowest costs per lane km in the country for a major winter city.
What are your thoughts? Do you want snow removal? If so, the question becomes how much are you willing to spend?
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