Town of Sylvan Lake reviews its snow and ice control policy

At Monday’s meeting Council approved changes to the policy and asked for a public open house

Sylvan Lake Town Council approved minor changes to the Town’s Snow and Ice Control with plans to hold a public engagement session.

The updated policy, which was approved on March 25, includes a “seasonal trigger.”

According to John Watson, operations manager, the addition of a seasonal trigger will help in years where the snow accumulation does not quite reach the 50 cm required for a D Route plough.

“This year is a great example, we would get close to the trigger but then it would melt, which had us ploughing D Routes later in February,” Watson explained.

With the new addition to the policy, the Public Works Director will be able to evaluate conditions on the C and D Routes, which are typically ploughed once each season, and can decide to plough even if the set trigger has not been met.

The package presented to Council at the Monday night meeting says A Routes are plough approximately eight times more than the residential D Routes.

Watson says D Routes make up the majority of town’s roadways, roughly 43 per cent, and have the majority of residents living on them. As such, concerns and complains are most often raised about D Routes.

A balance is required when ploughing in concerned, according to Watson.

He says Public Works must weigh the frequency and cost of ploughing against the “nuisance of snow packed roadways.”

To plough D Routes one time it costs the Town roughly $74,000, with a full residential plough coming in with a price tag of $154,300.

The updated policy also gives general direction for crews when it comes to how far onto the boulevard the window is placed.

“To maximize snow storage space the windrow will be placed further off the road early in the winter but left closer to the road later in the winter,” the report states.

These changes do not reflect any financial impact to the Town’s budget, which is why Council was comfortable adopting the changes, according to Mayor Sean McIntyre.

However, Council would still like to approach the public on the subject and see what they would like to see different in the policy, while also explaining the costs.

“I think this is an important issue that residents are concerned about,” said McIntyre. “I think we should hold an open house to talk about our policy, the costs associated and see if residents are comfortable with spending more.”

A date for the public engagement session has not been set at the time of publication, however it is expected to be sometime within the next month.

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