Snow has city on the go

Salmon Arm’s public works staff were going full tilt last week to keep the roads clear of white stuff.

Salmon Arm’s public works staff were going full tilt last week to keep the roads clear of white stuff.

Engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen says he has a crew of 13 who have been working around the clock, along with contractors, doing their best to keep city streets clear of snow.

“It’s kind of a collection of all hands on deck when you get one of these events,” laughs Niewenhuizen.

City staff shifts run 21 hours daily during heavy snowfall events.

“Typically, when we have a snow event like this, nobody really goes home,” says Niewenhuizen. “We just keep rotating the crews through. So we’ve got some guys who basically work their shift and work overtime to complete the snow route priorities.”

Those priorities are the main arterial and collector routes first, the downtown core second, and third are local streets and subdivisions. Niewenhuizen says this order can be upsetting to some.

Rene Vanderkraats is particularly frustrated with the attention the city has given 20th Ave. SE, where his business, the Inn on the Ninth Hole is located. Vanderkraats explained last Wednesday that a large part of the road was solid ice and in need of sanding, while the highway entrance to the road was blocked by up to 11 inches of snow. He says he’s been losing business as a result.

Niewenhuizen expects the snow at the entrance are windrows  from the province’s contractor. As for the road, it’s one of those identified as lower priority..

“Unfortunately, in a snow event like this, people have to have patience,” says Niewenhuizen. “That’s the biggest thing. We can’t be everywhere; we’ve got limited resources.”


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