Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Responding to a Concern About Snow Removal

I received a note on Facebook yesterday, my friend wanted to bring to my attention a discussion that was going on in a group called "Better Snow Removal for Grande Prairie".

I didn't jump into the conversation on the group but I did choose to contact one of the people directly. After getting some more details from her about what area of the city she lived in I sent along this response. I think it might answer questions other people in the city might be asking so I thought I'd share it here:

Thanks for the info!

I'll pass on the concern about the slippery intersection to see if we can get a little extra ice control there.

Just so you know when we talk about bus routes we're talking about the streets that city transit buses go on. We make these streets our second highest priority.

The first priority after a snow fall are the "Major Arterial" roads like 100 St, 84 Ave, 68 Ave, Resources Rd, Hwy 40 - Wapiti Road, etc. These are obviously the streets that have to carry the most traffic in the city.

After all the streets that fall in to the group above are done we move on to Priority 2 streets. This is where the city Transit Bus Routes are and also includes "Major Collector" Roadways that may or may not be part of a bus route; Crystal Lake Drive, Mission Heights Drive, Poplar Drive, Royal Oaks Drive, etc.

The idea is that if we can get the #1 & #2 streets cleaned quickly the majority of traffic can move pretty well through the city and important for emergency services like the police, fire and ambulances can get where they need to go.

After all that has been taken care of we move on to the residential roads as our #3 priority. This would include your street. Here, the City provides dedicated Snow and Ice Control on local roads & lanes in residential areas. Weekday mornings in North side Neighbourhoods (North of 100 Ave) and weekday afternoons in Southside Neighbourhoods (South of 100 Ave.)

Over all, our budget for snow removal is just over $4 million dollars per year ($4.035m in '09 to be exact and slightly more in '10). If we don't spend all the money in one year we put it in the bank and save it to help out in years where there is excessive snow and the budgeted amount won't cover the added costs.

You can find more information about what neighbourhoods the city crews are working on each day here:

(Check out the "Getting to Your Street" part)

Also, I had a chance to read the post on the group wall and you said "I would really like to see snow removal be paid for out of the City's pcket, not mine..."

It's important to remember that property taxes, like the ones you pay on your home, are how the city gets the majority of it's budget and it pays for much more than the bus you see in front of your house and the garbage collection.

Whenever council chooses to improve a service or build something new it will be reflected in your taxes. We try to be as efficient as we can when we spend your dollars but every police officer we add, or extra snow removal crew
we put on duty, or new recreation program we offer has to be paid for.

Our challenge is trying to balance having affordable taxes with providing the services that people want in our community. It's not always easy.

If you have any other thoughts or questions feel free to give me a call (780-814-0518, my cell) or send me a note here on Facebook.

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