Montrose council responds to concerns over plowing and snow banks

“Some of the older ladies drive smaller cars and they can't see. The banks are getting a bit high for them.” - Councillor Rory Steep

High snow banks and plowing priorities took up a big piece of the Montrose council meeting on Monday night.

Councillor Rory Steep received phone calls complaining about the state of the snow removal around the village.

The piles of snow at street corners leading onto the highway were getting higher and obstructing the view of turning vehicles.

“One of the concerns I heard about was about some of the banks along the turnoffs onto the highways,” he said.

“Some of the older ladies drive smaller cars and they can’t see. The banks are getting a bit high for them.”

It wasn’t clear, at first, who was responsible for the piles of plowed snow along the side of the highway. There were questions around Emcon and whether it was the one who needed to take care of it, but Chief Administrative Officer, Kevin Chartres, informed council that it was the village’s public works department that needed to fix the issue.

Steep had gotten another phone call from a resident concerned about plowing priorities after a snow event.

“Apparently, the public works guys were doing the alleyways when one of the main corners wasn’t done yet,” he said. “The concern was that one of the most used corners in Montrose wasn’t done, but the alleys were being done.”

CAO Chartres requested that when councillors get a complaint, especially about snow removal, get a look at it for themselves.

“It helps if you are able to go out and look at the spot they are talking about and then we can go to public works about it,” he explained.

“The policy is pretty black and white, but you wouldn’t believe the calls we get about snow removal.”

Councillor Mary Gay reminded Steep that many residents in Montrose use the alleys behind their homes as the main access point to their properties and needed to be plowed as well.

On the topic of public works, the department submitted a report to the council for review, outlining the work they had completed in December. The report covered the water system, the sewer system, storm drains, road maintenance, environmental services, equipment and more. It ended with a request to improve the current snow removal equipment and purchase a snow blade for the service truck.

“Council should definitely be looking at it for the spring 2015 budgeting,” said Chartres. “Public Works is just letting us know that they are having issues with the snow removal equipment.”

Council agreed to table the equipment discussion until budget talks begin.

“We need to stop putting a bandaid on the problem,” she said. “We end up spending more money in the long run.”

Deferred from a previous meeting, council had received a letter from School District 20, requesting a donation to allow for the purchase of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for schools in the district.

Councillor Steep didn’t see a need for the emergency medical equipment.

“All of our emergency services have AEDS,” he said on Monday evening. “I don’t necessarily see a need for an AED in a school. If all of the emergency services have them, I don’t understand why the school would need one. If the fire department is called and an AED is needed, they are going to bring it with them.”

Councillor and acting mayor, Mark Reid agreed with Steep.

“As long as someone in the school knows CPR and starts chest compressions right away (they shouldn’t need it),” he said.

It was decided to put the issue over to the next council meeting to allow Mayor Joe Danchuk time to chat with other municipalities and see if they were planning to donate.

The next Montrose Council meeting is on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.