The City of Trail is already reviewing its winter costs with another heavy snow season predicted by forecasters. Trail Times file photo

Trail eyes snow removal budget

$80,000 above budget; Heavy snow in early 2017 greatly impacted Trail’s snow removal costs

The winter forecast is a mixed bag at this point.

However, a number of weather sites including the U.S. Climate Prediction Centre and Canada’s AccuWeather are forecasting another season of La Niña, similar to 2016/2017.

“In the West, ski season expected to get off to a very good start with a quickly established snowpack,” states Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist. “Waves of Arctic air through the winter should keep a deep snowpack well into spring.”

While that’s great news for local tourism, another season of heavy snowfall could mean another weighty upset to the City of Trail snow removal budget.

Council reviewed the city’s third quarter balance sheets this week, which noted the previous quarterly reports emphasized financial concern with winter costs.

Trail’s annual snow removal budget of $544,400 has already been exceeded by almost $80,000.

“This, of course, is very concerning and final costs will be dependent on winter conditions going through to the end of the year,” advised Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff. “Given the current level of expense, this budget could be exceeded by as much as $300,000.”

Costs in many of the other service areas are being held in check, he explained.

“And this is reflected in the year over year comparison of total transportation services costs, which are down slightly even with the high winter costs,” Perehudoff reported. “Council did direct staff to take any actions possible to manage costs in light of the winter cost results and it is hoped that some savings will be realized to offset the significant winter cost deficit.”

With one big snow dump under its belt and another snow alert issued for today (Wednesday), the City of Trail is reminding residents about snow removal procedures.

With 76 kilometres of roads to maintain, city streets are plowed on a priority basis. First are the major collectors and emergency routes, such as the hospital, Warfield, and Fifth Avenue hills as well as roads with extreme gradients and significant volume, like Green Avenue in West Trail.

Bus routes are next on the list, followed by areas of downtown including parking lots and the Aquatic Centre.

Priority is then given to hilly roads with lighter traffic volumes, such as Lilac Crescent in Glenmerry or Park Street in East Trail.

All remaining residential streets and parking lots are cleared last. When all five priorities have been accomplished, lanes will be plowed and all other streets widened.

Sand is not used on level streets except when extreme icing conditions are experienced and the city will not clear snow windrows from any private driveway.

Property owners are required to remove any accumulation of snow or ice from sidewalks abutting their property.

Additionally, the public can help by: removing all unused vehicles, including boats and trailers, from the streets from November to March; parking vehicles as close to the curb or sidewalk as possible; and by refraining from shoveling or spreading snow onto the boulevard or into the roadway from sidewalks and private property.

The City Works Department office in Glenmerry is open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. All snow related concerns or problems should be directed to this office at 250.364.0840. Emergency calls outside of normal working hours are directed through to the regional fire department at 250.364.1737.

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