County of Wetaskiwin won’t plow driveways anymore

Council decides effort outweighs $50 fee

County of Wetaskiwin residents who had snow plowed from their driveways by the municipality will need to find a new method next winter, as council decided May 8 to do away with the service.

The topic was discussed at the Public Works committee meeting at the county hall. An agenda item was provided to council by Public Works director Neil Powell.

Titled “Rescind Snowplowing Regulations for Private Driveways Policy #3218,” the item was described by Powell as a $50 fee for residents to have their driveways plowed of snow; those who pay the fee are given a flag they place at the end of their driveway so the grader operators know the driveway needs plowing.

Powell said one complication involved is that the $50 fee applies whether a driveway is 10 meters or 50 meters.

Another problem is the number of “callbacks” the county receives to plow the driveway again. It was stated some residents call back to get further plowing even though there hasn’t been fresh snowfall, only some drifting.

Another problem Powell noted is the liability issue of taking county equipment onto private property.

Powell said if the bylaw allowing for this service was rescinded, residents could plow snow themselves or hire a private company to handle it.

Councilors asked if staff could tell them how many flags per years are sold to residents. CAO Rod Hawken stated 75 flags were sold in 2017-18. Hawken also noted council has discussed rescinding this bylaw before.

After hearing the number, most councilors agreed the bylaw wasn’t affecting very many people anyway.

Councilor Terry Van de Kraats stated driveways had a lower priority than roads anyway; even if the driveway policy remained, roads are plowed first. Driveways were plowed later, when time allowed.

Councilor Ken Adair stated, rather than rescinding the bylaw, another option is to increase the fee to, for example, $100, and only those who really need the service will enlist.

Powell stated, if the bylaw was rescinded, the county would be responsible for road plowing only.

Councilors voted 4-1 to rescind the bylaw for plowing snow from driveways. It will remain in effect until Sept. 1, 2018.

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