Snow removal debated at city council on Monday


Photo: City Hall has been receiving calls from residents who are concerned about windrows, as well as the amount of time it takes to clear local roads – File Photo.

Some residents in Fort St. John are taking their slippery-road road rage out on City Hall.

After one of the first snowfalls in late October, Councilor Bruce Christensen says city staff received calls from concerned residents, about the City’s snow removal procedures.

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So, Fort St. John city councilors discussed snow removal at the regular council meeting on Monday.

Last week, city staff contacted staff in Prince George, and asked how the city removes its snow. Prince George reported that it has a large fleet of snow removal vehicles. The city also removes snow differently in rural and residential sections.

Also, in its three year average budget, Prince George allocates just over $4 million towards snow removal. Fort St. John’s snow removal budget falls just under $700,000. Both cities receive similar amounts of snowfall each year.

Mayor Bruce Lantz says the city of Fort St. John does an excellent job of clearing its snow. He also notes that some residents would not support a tax hike in order to supplement other forms of snow removal.

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Director of Public Works and Utilities Don Demers says when the roads get slick, calcium-coated gravel is distributed on streets and avenues.  Depending on weather conditions, the city will either add salt to the gravel mixture or add straight salt to the roads.

On Monday, councilors voted to continue to support the current snow removal policy. Information on that policy can be found on the city’s website, by Clicking Here. Council is also giving the ‘Save Our Northern Seniors’ organization the opportunity to manage the Snow Angel program, a program that helps local seniors remove windrows that are left at the end of their driveways.

Meanwhile, councilors voted to have staff review the current snow removal procedures with a special Task Force. The new group will consist of a cross-section of residents, who will review the city’s policy and brainstorm ideas on how to make it better.