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Kelowna hopes to end year without 'significant snow event'

FILE PHOTO - A tractor cleans up Stuart Park rink after a snow storm in January 2015.
December 26, 2015 - 10:35 AM

CENTRAL OKANAGAN - About half of Kelowna’s civic workers will be off the job over the holidays but snow removal crews won’t be amongst them.

“Yes, it’s all hands on deck if needed,” public works manager Darryl Astofooroff says. “It’s looking good though, nothing much in the forecast."

The city has gotten off lightly so far this winter cleaning up after just one significant snowfall and a series of freeze-thaw events.

“This year has been pretty much on par with last year with a few small snowfalls,” Astofooroff says.

Despite the low snowfall, he says the city has already used 65 per cent of its $1.6 million 2015 snow budget.

If that sounds high, it’s because the budget covers the calendar year including last year’s “significant snow event” that dumped 37 centimetres of snow on the Central Okanagan over two days in early January.

The remaining cash only has to cover snow removal for another week before any surplus is moved to snow removal reserves.

That event has caused a few changes to snow removal protocols for this year including the introduction of the city’s first snow routes on Dilworth Mountain.

Cars parked on these high priority roads during snow storms will be towed and ticketed ahead of snow plows.

Should another big snow storm happen, the city is prepared to divert service request and complaint calls through the emergency operations centre in the Enterprise Way fire hall.

A larger, more sustained public information campaign will also be rolled out in the event of a storm of a similar magnitude.

Astofooroof says the city hasn’t made any significant equipment purchases because it's impossible to keep equipment ready for an event that might not happen again for decades.

Instead, the city will move to a closer relationship with heavy equipment operators and the ability to call on machinery with short notice.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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