Concerns prompt Sylvan Lake to change winter street plowing plans

Council approved amalgamating C and D Routes in the Snow and Ice Control Policy

Sylvan Lake Town Council approved changes to the Snow and Ice Policy to improve residential street plowing.

The change comes as a result of public feedback at the end of the last snowy season. Many residents submitted comments online during the month of many.

Of those residents who said they were dissastified identified their primary concern was was “improved winter maintenance on residential roads.”

John Watson, operations manager, brought forward the change which will see the elimination of D Routes in Sylvan Lake.

This means the current D Routes will be combined with the C Routes.

“C and D Routes would be combined as they were pre-2014 and will include all roads that are not A, B, or DT Routes,” Watson said.

Further to this change, Watson also brought forward a reduced trigger for the new C Routes.

C Routes will now have a reduced trigger of 45 cm of snow accumulation, down from the previous 50 cm.

“The intent of the new trigger is to raise the frequency that residential roads are plowed per winter from one time, to approximately two times per winter on average,” said Watson.

Generally, Watson says the trigger will have the roads plowed once in December and once in mid-February.

Watson says finding a balance in plowing is key, while also reducing residents concerns on the issue.

To find a balance, Watson looked at historical records dating back to the early 2000s, when the town began keeping records of street plowing frequency.

“Looking back we can see that A Routes have been plowed twice as much as B Routes, and B routes have been plowed twice as much as C Routes,” he said.

In addition to the two changes, a third change will occur for C Routes in the length of time.

When the trigger is initiated, C routes will begin plowing 7 days after snowfall and end within 16 days.

This is an additions two days on the old targets. This is because the combination of C and D Routes gives more space that needs to be dealt with.

The additional street plowing will cost the Town about $46,000 to the snow and ice operations.

“Public Works has the capacity and resources to meet the requirements of the proposed policy for the foreseeable future, especially since the program is often augmented by private sector contractors,” Watson said.

The proposed 2020 Budget includes the an additional $50,000 to cover this cost, according to Watson.

The amended Snow and Ice Control Policy was approved at the Nov. 25 meeting of council.

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