City of Wetaskiwin council tweaked the most important policy dealing with snow removal during their regular meeting Mar. 26. Councilor Dean Billingsley was the lone absentee from the meeting.
Director of Engineering and Community Development Sue Howard and Public Works manager Byron Olson presented councilors with the agenda item detailing proposed changes to Policy 3201 Winter Street & Sidewalk Maintenance.
The item stated, “While the existing policy is only a few years old, Administration has found some efficiencies that are now in conflict with the existing policy. It was also determined that a Level of Service (LOS) review would be appropriate at this time.”
Howard explained to councilors that if changes were made to the snowplow policy, the LOS would also have to be changed to align properly with the policy.
Currently, residents of the City of Wetaskiwin get decent snowplow service noted Howard. “We have an amazing level of service compared to other communities,” said Howard. She noted only a handful of communities windrow the snow and haul it away in the same way Wetaskiwin does.
The policy contained a number of elements, including snow plowing, snow removal, snow shoveling and snow plowing (trails and sidewalks). Proposed changes were not deep noted Howard. “We didn’t change a lot,” she said, noting alleys have been added.
Much of the councilor’s discussion revolved around the level of snow on residential streets which triggers the Public Works department to start plowing and removing it. The current policy noted that level was 20 cm, which is about eight inches and staff proposed changing that to 15 cm, and six inches.
More discussion resulted from both councilors and staff discussing the issue of some parts of the city having, for example, 15 cm, while others only have 5 cm.
Councilor Patricia MacQuarrie moved that an amendment be made to tables C and D, so the wording reflected the detail of “up to 5 cm,” which was passed.
MacQuarrie also asked if changes reflected a cut in service.
Councilor Wayne Neilson said that, by lowering the residential trigger from 20 cm to 15 cm, it actually improves service.
The issue of recent rutted streets in the residential areas came up. Mayor Tyler Gandam said he was in favor of lowering the trigger to prevent ruts. “When the ruts are there it’s tough to get down the road,” said Gandam.
Councilor Alan Hilgartner made a motion to table this item so councilors could digest it more fully, but that was defeated in a vote.
Councilors approved the amended changes.