City of Trail clearing snow on Jan. 19 in downtown Trail.

Heavy snow piled up costs in Trail and Greater Area

The City of Trail is projecting a $272,000 shortfall in its snow removal budget when the cold weather returns in late fall.

Snow piled up then bills piled up in the City of Trail this year.

So much snow during the first three months that, in fact, the city is projecting a $272,000 shortfall in its snow removal budget when the cold weather returns in late fall.

Trail council reviewed a summary of winter operations this week, and noted expenses to the end of March exceeded $574,900 or $30,500 above the originally approved budget ($544,000).

“It just points out that we had a real anomaly in Trail this year,” says Trail Mayor Mike Martin. “This all came about as a result of the excessive snowfall we had in the January to February time frame.”

Snow was removed from the downtown core seven times during the first two months of the year, which is well out of the norm especially when five of the heavy dumps were in early February.

“Massive snow removal had to take place,” said Martin. “And that’s not just in the downtown, of course, we also had to do all the other streets.”

Historically, the snow removal budget is expended evenly over the course of the year. Typically, 50 per cent is expended during the first quarter of the year (January to March) and 50 per cent is used from early winter until December 31.

With the usual scenario already fallen to the wayside, public works is estimating that 2017 snow removal costs will exceed $874,000. This represents an additional $272,000 (50 per cent) over the original budgeted amount.

“What council has decided, recognizing we’ve got this potential shortfall at the end of the year, is we do have some opportunities for funding from other avenues,” said Martin.

“Our back up plan is we can take funds from prior years’ surpluses and cover off any shortfall. But in addition to that, we are getting some early indication there may be some other funding sources becoming available as part of our capital works plan,” he added. “So we are not taking further action at this point with the understanding that we are aware of the issue and we do have contingency plans via a couple of avenues.”

In a memo to council, Public Works Director Chris McIsaac summarized snow removal costs over four years. In the first quarter of 2014, Trail council’s $493,000 winter operations used about 44 per cent of the allotment, leaving a $316,000 surplus. Then in 2015 and 2016, the city budgeted an average $495,000, and both years the account remained well above board, with surpluses of $284,000 and $170,000 respectively.

Crews clearing following heavy snowfall Feb. 9

Another municipality experiencing an unexpected shortfall is the Village of Warfield.

Corporate Officer Jackie Patridge says at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, the village’s snow removal expenditure was $20,000 under budget.

Ongoing cold temperatures were behind precipitation amassing as snow this winter, not just in the valley but at mid elevations as well.

“Snow removal is interesting in that it spans two fiscal years, with November and December in 2016 and January and February in 2017,” said Patridge. “The 2017 snow removal expenditure is currently $15,000 higher than expected at this point of the year, but we still have to see what happens in November and December of 2017.”

The Village of Fruitvale actually have $15,000 to spare from it’s 2016 operating budget of $119,750.

“However, given the snow season we had this January to March, we increased our budget by 16% ($20,000),” says Chief Administrative Officer Lila Cresswell. “And that will allow us a bit of a buffer in case the November-December season is heavier this upcoming winter.”

We are seeing a shift in the cost centres from the plowing into the hauling and salt/sanding, Cresswell added.

“The volume of snow received in the snow events means it must be hauled away fairly quickly to avoid the high windrows. That and the extra amount of salting/sanding due to freeze thaw cycles.”

On top of the hill in Rossland, winter operations were quite normal.

“For the 2016 budget year we used 85 per cent of our annual budget of budget or approx. $392,000,” says Manager of Operations Darrin Albo.

For the 2017 budget we have used 58 per cent of our annual budget or approx. $261,000, Albo added.

“I feel we are close to been on budget for 2017 provided that November and December are normal snow accumulations.”


Just Posted

Syringa Creek fire ‘being held’

The fire has burned 3193 hectares; Deer Creek fire is also “being held” at 3849 hectares

List of civic election candidates in Trail area

The nomination period closed Friday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.

Field set for Greater Trail municipal elections

Mayoral races in Warfield, Trail, Montrose and Fruitvale

Police investigate break-in, theft at Trail bakery

Trail RCMP officers responded to a break-in at the Pastry Shoppe on Friday

Basin sees increased support from the Trust

$57 million in benefits delivered through 65 programs and initiatives last year

B.C. tent city ‘devastated’ after flash flood

Maple Ridge mayor says that residents shouldn’t have to return to their flooded tents

Syrian family can, finally, feel safe after settling in B.C.

Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity White Rock meets sponsored family for the first time

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Russia blames Israel for plane shot down by Syrian missile

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down over the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to its home base inside Syria, killing all 15 people on board.

Vancouver park board passes motion to learn Indigenous place names

The name of Vancouver’s Stanley Park is now up for debate as the city’s park board confronts its colonial past and pursues reconciliation.

Champ golfer from Spain killed in Iowa; suspect charged

Police said Celia Barquin Arozamena was found dead Monday morning at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

Abdelrazik torture lawsuit delay would be unconscionable: lawyer

The federal government is making a last-minute plea to delay the Federal Court hearing

Most Read