By Cindy Filipenko
The dramatic snowfalls of the past month have Village of Pemberton residents frustrated. According to VOP staff, there have been incidents of snowplow operators being sworn at and pelted by snowballs.
“It’s not very neighbourly,” said Sheena Fraser, VOP deputy clerk. “These guys are doing a really good job considering what Mother Nature is throwing us at. We just want people to understand why we’re doing things the way we are.”
The VOP has issued a fact sheet explaining snow removal procedures in hopes of alleviated resident frustrations. According to the fact sheet, it takes a minimum of 10 hours to initially plow and/or sand every road in the village so that they are all passable. The village gives priority to areas around the emergency buildings (fire, RCMP and ambulance access). Next to be plowed are steep roads, with flat roadways, and airport road being plowed last. The Department of Highways is responsible for clearing Portage Road.
Crews check highway exits/entrances and the roads around the emergency buildings every two hours to ensure they are kept open. Depending upon the amount of snow and buildup, these areas may be plowed more often, which in turn increases the time between plowing of other areas. Once all village streets are passable, the crew begins cleaning up and widening all areas.
One of the issues that seems to generate the most frustration for residents is the practice of snowplows pushing wet, sludgy snow into the ends of driveways.
“That’s a complaint in every municipality,” says Paul Atwood, VOP Public Works foreman. “We just don’t have any other options in terms of time and money.”
Atwood estimates that it would take an entire day to plow the residential streets of The Glen in a way that would not see the accumulation of snow at the end of driveways.
“It’s also the fact that our streets aren’t wide enough to allow us to just plow down the middle. We also have issues with ICBC and insurance that affect how we plow. We try to minimize the buildup where we can,” he explained.
Atwood points out that more complete snow removal calls for expensive specialized equipment and labour intensive snow blower usage and is therefore only seen in richer communities or large urban areas such as Toronto and Montreal.
To assist in snow clearing operations, the VOP is asking residents to clear cul-de-sacs of vehicles as plow truck cannot do tight turns. Furthermore, vehicles parked in driveways should not extend into the roadway.
Concerns about plowing should be referred to the VOP office at 604-894-6135 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or the Public Works manager at 604-945-9098 anytime.