Downtown snow removal draws debate

City of Vernon looks over snow removal budget in downtown core

One councillor thinks the City of Vernon is doing a great job of snow removal in the downtown core.

Another thinks more money should be added to the snow removal budget.

City public works manager James Rice reported as per a council request on downtown snow removal service levels Monday at a committee of the whole meeting.

“Although the snow and ice complaints that were received by the city have not been categorized, service levels for the following items often seem to come into question by the community,” said Rice, referring to city trucks plowing snow onto sidewalks; sidewalk clearing; on-street parking; clearing of driveway windrows; and snow removal in the downtown core.

See related: Vernon clarities snow removal policy

The most effective way to address the issues, said Rice, is to increase the level of snow removal services.

The current budget of $40,000 provides for snow removal twice per year. Rice said if council wants to increase snow removal downtown, it should endorse an ‘event severity index,’ meaning an example of 15 centimetres of snowfall that would trigger snow removal services.

“At a 15cm snowfall accumulation trigger, snow removal services would likely occur between two and six times per year, and require a budget of $40,000 to $120,000 (a budget increase of up to $80,000),” said Rice.

Coun. Catherine Lord said she had received complaints about snow levels in downtown.

“I’d like to see us put more money into this,” said Lord. “I’d like to put an extra $80,000 into the reserves.”

Coun. Brian Quiring, who operates a business downtown, disagreed.

“I think crews have been doing a spectacular job this year on snow removal,” he said. “The snow removal in downtown, given the amount of snow and given what some other communities have gone through, is doing very well. As long as people shovel their sidewalks. I think we should amp up enforcement for shoveling sidewalks because that’s a bigger deal.”

Coun. Juliette Cunningham, who has operated a downtown business for 28 years, didn’t support lowering the event severity index to 15 cms, but did support adding funds to the reserve.

Council received Rice’s report for information.



newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

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