Snow removal complaints 'normal' in Kamloops so far, weather anything but | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops News

Snow removal complaints 'normal' in Kamloops so far, weather anything but

Nearly 30 centimetres of snow fell on Kamloops this December and city street crews worked hard to keep up, but the persistent cold snap made street clearing challenging, the City of Kamloops says.

Depending on the street, crews laid down salt and gravel in varying amounts in Kamloops, but the cold weather that dropped below -20 C in the region wasn't enough to break up the ice, according to streets and environmental services manager for the City of Kamloops, Glenn Farrow.

Despite the persistent ice and packed snow on local roads, Farrow said city crews strived to keep streets clear and safe throughout the December cold snap.

"Our focus is always to align to those council-approved service levels, and that's what we strive to do," Farrow said.

He pointed to a publicly accessible map, which lays out which roads in the city are prioritized and in what order. They are in three categories, where arterial routes are given a four-hour timeline to be cleared, bus and collection routes are to be cleared within 16 hours, and residential streets are given a 36-hour timeline.

"Our goal is to maintain bare wheel paths in one lane as long as possible during snow events and to regain bare wheel paths within four hours of the completion of a snow event," the City of Kamloops website reads, which pertains to arterial roads like Fortune Drive and Columbia Street.

The cold snap that swept through the southern Interior of B.C. last month carried significant amounts of snowfall, and while they were a blessing for skiers heading to their local ski hills, it presented challenges for drivers.

Around Kamloops, there are vehicles resting on their roofs along highways that remain since around Christmas. As they await towing crews to remove them, they serve as a reminder for other drivers of the dangers of winter driving — especially when doing so without winter tires.

Farrow added that city crews have been successful at clearing sidewalks around transit routes, which was an addition that city council recently voted to prioritize at a council meeting before the new year. They also added funds to the 2021 budget that would increase service levels in order to keep pedestrians safer on potentially slippery sidewalks.

Farrow stressed that it's important to ensure the public is aware, however, of which sidewalks and paths are a city priority and which are up to the public to clear.

He said his department receives complaints about snow clearing on property that is either a public responsibility or a provincial responsibility each year, and this year is no different. Whether there have been more or less complaints from the public, valid or not, he couldn't say precisely.

"I haven't run the stats to look at the numbers and see if it's more than what we got last year," Farrow said. "Based on my experience, it's pretty normal."

As for highways, he said snow clearing is part of the maintenance contracted to Argo Road Maintenance by the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The area covers a large portion of the Thompson region, including highways and the on and off ramps around Kamloops itself.

Farrow said it's currently unclear how much of the 2021 snow clearing budget was spent and how much of that was used in December, but those amounts will be determined over the next week. As of Jan. 1, civic operations turned over to the 2022 budget for its snow clearing operations in Kamloops, but the department is not bound to that amount.

"At the end of the day, I would exceed my budget significantly if I needed to based on the weather we're fighting," Farrow said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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