The city of North Bay is disputing complaints from the local Postal Workers Union president about snow removal this winter.
Keith Bradford is the president of North Bay Local 576 with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. He sent out a media letter complaining that a lack of snow removal in the city has made work difficult for postal workers to do their job.
“It is not just one area of the city it is everywhere,” said Bradford last week.
“I am getting reports from carriers all over the city, they are bringing mail back. They cannot even walk down the streets, the streets are not being done, the sidewalks are not being done for days after it snows.”
See related: Frustration continues for local postal workers
Chris Mayne, the Vice Chair of Public Works and Engineering and a North Bay City Councillor, disputes those claims.
“Our service levels in some areas have actually increased in regards to snow removal,” stated Mayne in an email to BayTodya.ca.
“City crews are working hard to stay ahead of local winter road conditions but, as is the case every winter, the most important thing for drivers to remember is that it is still winter and to slow down and drive defensively.”
From the postal worker perspective, Mayne points out that there is no provincial requirement to maintain sidewalks through the winter months.
“The City currently does maintain all 144 kilometres of our sidewalks,” he said.
“If sidewalks are maintained in the winter by the municipality then we have an obligation to complete maintenance to the standard of a typical residential roadway (class 5).
“Generally, we have our sidewalk units out Monday through Friday from the first snowfall in the fall until the snow is completely melted in the spring. Additionally, it is our practice to call out sidewalk plows each time we call in all of our road plows on weekends or for early morning call-outs.”
Mayne says the city is investing more in trying to clear snow from area roadways and sidewalks, with this year’s budget just under $3 million which is up by about $100,000 in each of the last two years.
“Each winter brings its own challenges due to changing weather patterns,” he said.
“Starting in 2016, in addition to our normal snow removal operation we started the practice of widening residential roadways utilizing a contract blower to blow the snow back onto lot frontages.