Report: heavy snowfall creates challenges and costs for city snow removal

Heavy Revelstoke snowfall provides costly snow removal challenge, city crews need compliance to parking rules

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City snow removal crews were hit with multiple challenges when it came keeping Revelstoke’s streets plowed this past weekend.

Heavy rainfall on Friday, Feb. 2 turned the large accumulation of packed snow into slush by Saturday morning, causing pooling at intersections making mobility difficult for both drivers and pedestrians.

In a report to a council committee. Darren Komonoski, public works operations manager, said a decision was made to schedule an overtime shift on Saturday night. Parked vehicles and pedestrians meant plowing could not be completed safely during daylight hours.

“Challenges that staff face on a daily basis include parked vehicles on the sidewalk and obstructing snow removal activities. Vehicles parked for more than 24 hours, RV ‘camping’ on city streets, and snow being pushed into city streets and sidewalks from residential driveways,” Komonoski said.

Social media campaigns are helping educate new and seasonal residents about snow removal bylaw requirements, but Komonoski said it is likely these challenges will continue.

The public works department recorded a total snowfall of 58 cm during the first five days of February. This is equivalent to 37% of the snowfall received during the entire month of January. The city’s snow clearing and removal budget is approximately $1.2 million with an additional sanding budget of $128,500. The city spent $586,191 on snow removal in January.

Council has discretion to access funds in the Financial Stabilization Fund to help cover additional costs during a larger snow year. The fund had a balance of approximately $940,000 at the start of 2017.

To give an idea of the current Revelstoke snowpack, this is a visual of a full-sized pickup truck buried in a full season of snow, next to a nice pillow on a trailer. They are parked legally and not impeding snow removal. In the background, a roofalanche. Photo taken early in the morning Feb. 8 in Southside, Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

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