FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John has resumed snow removal operations after blowback from the community.
Residents expressed their frustrations with the City of Fort St. John after it was announced Tuesday that “non-essential” snow clearing would be paused due to the extreme cold. The City said temperatures below -30 degrees would cause damages to the equipment.
A wave of concern, frustration, and anger was directed towards City Hall as Fort St. John received 16.7 centimeters, or seven inches, of snow since New Year’s Day. The city has received 28.5 centimeters, or 11 inches, since Christmas.
The city has three snow clearing levels detailed in its policy, with the minimum stating clearing must take place “following snowfall accumulation greater than five centimeters and less than 15 centimeters measured over a 72 hour period.”
The City posted to social media Thursday announcing that “snow fighters” will be back on the roads, and that they need to modify and improve some snow removal processes.
The City says snow clearing and sanding will never stop or be put on hold in the future.
“When the temperatures dip below minus 30, crews will modify their snow clearing methods while ensuring our roads are safe and driveable,” said the City’s statement.
Sanders, graders, and loaders will continue to be out day and night, the City said, with the clearing of roads and sidewalks always being a priority.
“While the cold weather is harder on equipment, we also recognize that snow clearing is a necessity, and we must work to balance the risk of damaging the snow clearing equipment with the need to keep our roads clear.”
The City says crews will continue clearing on main and collector roads, and contracted “snow fighters” will begin on northeast residential roads and will work their way around the city starting Sunday.
After the community outrage, Energeticity’s calls to the City’s communication team were met with no response.
Councillor Trevor Bolin said concerns were directed to the CAO and deputy CAO.
Council is expected to talk about the matter during Monday’s council meeting.