Money flows as the snow flies in Kelowna

A tractor cleans the skating rink at Stuart Park in Kelowna after the major snowstorm in early January, 2015.

KELOWNA - City crews and contractors are hitting the streets for some serious snow removal, but this time everyone's prepared.

Not like early November's dump of snow. 

“It began much earlier than normal. We don’t normally get that significant snowfall that early and it caught us by surprise,” roadways supervisor Stephen Bryans says. “But we’ve been good since November 2, until yesterday that is."

Sunday’s snowfall along with another ten centimetres expected overnight means Bryan’s snow crews have been busy both sanding the roads and bringing in more supplies.

“We have to make sure we have enough material on hand,” Bryans said.

His department uses a private forecaster and Environment Canada to track the weather and plan how many staff to have ready, with the ability to adjust their schedules on short notice to provide 24-hour coverage.

Despite the threat of snow overnight, Bryans says the department is right on track to spend the city’s $1.7 million annual snow clearing budget.

Most winters will have a couple of months bad weather, but either in November and December or January and February, Bryans says.

“It generally averages out but sometimes you get one that’s bad all winter. We haven’t had one of those lately,” Bryans adds.

The forecast is for snow over the next two days but then a sharp drop in temperature, colder but with clear skies over Christmas.

“We don’t mind that,” Bryans says. “Cold with snow is not that terrible for us. We would rather deal with that than the freeze thaw when it’s warmer."

Bryans says the city’s snow event response has been beefed up since the major snowstorm of January 2015 which dumped an average of 37 centimetres on the Central Okanagan.

That includes three more sidewalk plows, a longer contractor list and additional equipment such as extended blades for plows, he adds.


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