For a village perched on the side of a mountain, not having a sanding truck to handle winter’s icy contribution to steep streets could be catastrophic.
Since late November the Village of Warfield has been dealing with that situation while their aging sanding truck gathers dust on the sidelines.
After the third snowfall of the year, the 14-year veteran of the Warfield fleet went down with an injury to its sanding system, located in the underbelly of the truck.
The age of the vehicle pre-empted the immediate procurement of new parts, but the vehicle’s manufacturer in Eastern Canada agreed to build a new “drag chain” for the defunct sand delivery system.
“We have to put the cart in front of the horse sometimes to get the job done,” said Mayor Bert Crockett about the band-aid effort.
Although the village has been able to sand and clear the main roads, bus routes and steep sections of the community, mild weather Friday and a skiff of snow overnight turned most streets into perfectly pebbled curling rinks, with some Warfield vehicles out-turning into the eight-foot as they curled up to steep corner stop signs.
The village has been employing a combination of pay-loaders to clear and maintain what they can until the repair can be made, shaking sand from a bucket onto the roads in the troublesome areas.
But with the task taking an onerous amount of time compared to what it used to, there is still no sand on some streets, said Coun. Tom Milne on Monday night after their regular council meeting.
“We’ve been lucky so far,” Coun. Milne said.
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“It’s working but it’s a nuisance. It’s not cost effective. And with the mild weather we have been getting, the freeze and thaw, I don’t know how long we can continue.”
Parts for the old truck were supposed to be delivered to the community last week, but are still in transit somewhere, he told council.
Even with some of the steep areas sanded — like Gordon Road, Emerald Ridge and Upper Warfield — people are still driving too fast in the 40 kilometre per hour zones throughout the village, said Coun. Milne.
He offered a word of caution for drivers until the old truck was fixed and a more thorough and regular sanding could take place.
“We’ll endeavour to get sand on wherever possible, and we may have to go out at the end of each day and sand these steep hills where it is melting in case it does freeze at night, just so we have something there,” he said.
A new sand/plow truck is on order for the village and should be working the streets of Warfield by the end of February. It will cost around $178,000.