The District of Hope’s plows have been on the streets since Wednesday, yet one resident says the cities priority areas for snow removal are flawed.
With a winter storm warning in place, residents of Hope are coping with continuous snowfall. Environment Canada predicts five to 10 centimetres throughout the day Friday, with a risk of freezing rain and up to 25 centimetres of snow overnight.
Perry Madsen, manager of public works for the District of Hope, said vehicles begin to plow streets as soon as snow starts falling. Crews have been out since Wednesday, Madsen said, with seven staff working 14-hour shifts during the day and two staff working 12-hour shifts at night.
Contractors are plowing sidewalks and carting snow off of Wallace St. at night, Madsen added.
As of Thursday noon, Madsen said the district had covered nearly all of Hope’s streets. He said it takes 36 hours to clear all of Hope including Silver Creek and Kawkawa Lake areas.
Resident George Rice said a steep street beside his house, Glenaire Drive, was not plowed until 10 to 11 p.m. Wednesday. By early afternoon Thursday, Rice said there was a foot of snow on the street and the roads were impassable. He did not see another plow until late afternoon Thursday.
A resident of Hope for over 30 years, Rice said he has seen the quality of snow removal decline over the years. After a difficult winter last year, Rice said he wants to see the city consult with residents before they decide which streets are a priority.
“I just want to emphasize, I’m not complaining about the guys doing the work. The guys driving the trucks, I’m sure, are doing their darndest. They’re working long hours and when they do show up they’re doing a good job,” he said.
“But the overall plan, you either don’t have enough equipment and people or you’re putting it in the wrong area when someone has to go 16-17 hours snowed in.”
Madsen urged residents to be patient as crews plow the roads today and into the weekend. He said the district has been getting many non-emergency calls, which take manpower away from the snow removal effort.
“Unless it’s a medical emergency or that type of event that you have to get out, please refrain and understand that we’re doing our best,” he said. “Once the snow has stopped and the street hasn’t been cleaned for 24 hours, then give us a call.”
Madsen said residents can help move the snow removal process along by moving cars off the street, especially at night, and making sure to put winter tires or chains on to avoid getting stuck on roads.
See the Jan. 4 print edition of the Hope Standard to read more about the District of Hope’s snow removal policy and priority areas.