Service levels to increase in new Snow and Ice policy

Sylvan Lake Town Council has approved a new Snow and Ice Control policy that will see service levels

Sylvan Lake Town Council has approved a new Snow and Ice Control policy that will see service levels increased significantly starting this winter.

A new priority level ‘C’ has been added for the provision of snow removal from minor collector roads when compacted snow is in excess of 15 centimetres. Those roads include streets connecting cul-de-sacs, closes and other roads to major collector roads.

As well, ‘trigger’ points for priorities ‘A’ and ‘B’ — for arterial roads and community-wide connectors, and industrial and major collector roads, respectively — have been lowered.

Priority ‘A’ roads will see removal take place when loose snow exceeds eight centimetres, or when compacted snow exceeds five.

Removal will take place on priority ‘B’ roads when loose or compacted snow exceeds eight centimetres.

Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said the changes will benefit town residents when higher-than-average snowfall is received, as was the case last winter when it prompted swift action from the Town.

“A lot of people were really understanding about it, being that you can only budget for what is typical and you can only do what is within your range as far as the number of employees and the type of equipment that you have,” she said. “We did react literally the day of the major snowfall … we were pretty pleased with the results.

“Certainly the snow kept coming after that, so this (policy) is a result of that.”

The trigger point for priority ‘D’ roads, which include all local roads remaining, has been decreased to 50 centimetres from around 70.

That means residential streets could be cleared roughly 1.5 times a year — an increase from the previous 0.9 average.

Those same roads could be cleared even quicker, however, when “a single snow event exceeds 30 centimetres, and after priority ‘A,’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ routes have been maintained to an acceptable standard,” the policy states.

“If it happens and it’s 30 centimetres all at once, we’re going out there,” said Gaudet.

The new policy, she added, will help minimize any negative impacts on the town that may result from heavy snowfall.

“Now that these numbers are here, we’re committing to clear, even if it is overtime,” she said. “There’s nobody panicking about how much snow is falling.”