Questions about new snowclearing equipment, hiring more people, training equipment operators and different methods of snowclearing have been put to staffers by council members as they consider ways to increase snowclearing services.
The questions and debate follow a five-page analysis and series of options presented to council by District of Houston operations manager Chris Lawrence.
Here’s what council has been asking about so far based on minutes of the April 20 council meeting.
Councillor Lisa Makuk — in asking about current standards, was told there are logistical and scheduling challenges in meeting those standards.
Councillor Tim Anderson — asked if there are clearing methods that would limit the amount of ice and snow left as windrows in driveways. Was also told that in years past, additional part time staff had bolstered service levels.
Councillor Troy Reitsma — along with Anderson, was concerned about the prospect of doing away with the snowboard policy and of adjusting priorities for sidewalk clearing given the their use by more vulnerable residents. Also queried what impacts there might be in prioritizing operations outside the busier hours of high traffic areas.
Councillor Tom Euverman — noted the preference for snow removal policies to be exceeded, indicating there is a safety valve in hirng local equipment operators during heavy snowfalls.
Mayor Shane Brienen — noted that the District of Houston’s road network of 64 kilometres of paved roads and 18 kilometres of gravel roads present a challenge. He also asked about the pairing up of a snowblower blowing into a dump truck, and was told by staffers that costs for new equipment could be presented to council.
Council will now await answers to its questions before proceeding on the viability of changing and improving snowclearing services.