The Mayor of the City of North Bay went to social media to help explain the process behind the challenging job of plowing North Bay area streets in the winter months.
Al McDonald says the overall winter strategy is complex.
"Yes, there is a plan and a reason for what the women and men of operations and infrastructure do out there on the Streets on a daily basis. While liability is one reason to help protect citizens (read city) from lawsuits, there are many reasons why," McDonald said via social media.
"Our trucks record time, the complete route travelled and how much product is distributed."
He adds that something as simple as a garbage day can cause issues for snowplow operators.
"Many residents place their garbage cans on the road in front of the snowbank which prevents the plow operator from keeping the banks pushed back. Residents should place their garbage within their driveway and back somewhat from the edge of the road," he said.
McDonald believes doing that helps everyone as it reduces winter maintenance and having to send trucks back to the area on a future date.
He says there is even a reason why snowplows may come by when the pavement is bare.
"The well-travelled road will be bare whereas a less travelled road will not," he said.
"The mild temperatures then cause slushy and or slippery conditions that have to be dealt with on the less-travelled roads. To get to these areas, the route often has to be driven in its entirety. Our operators have the discretion to scrape the shoulder or push the banks back to ensure water is draining properly."
McDonald adds that these functions dramatically improve conditions once the cold weather returns.
"Winter control comes with a cost and when you cut back on routine maintenance you create more work later on and exposes the City to other risks and claims but just as important, the streets are not maintained at a level which best serves our citizens," said McDonald.
He concludes that the city plans to do a better job via social media to communicate issues such as this to the average citizen.
Meanwhile, community activist Don Rennick says the mayor's experience is not his own.
My experience with the City regarding snow removal:
- November 27th, the plow went by about 4:00 am and then again at 11:40 am and also 1:30 pm. There had been zero precipitation in the interim and bare pavement was showing. The reply from the City was that they were going to discuss the issue with the operator.
- December 6th, no snow in days, pavement completely bare and plow came with the blades down. The city agreed that there had been no snow but the operator was “cleaning up the loose snow” prior to the “colder temperatures” forecast for Friday night
- December 9th, 9:00 am hasn’t snowed in two days, the temperature is plus 2 and it’s raining. Plow just went by with blade down. Reply from City indicating they had a freezing rain warning and roads were slippery in our area which the complete opposite of what I observed.
- Dec 31st - Bare pavement, plow goes by with blade down.
- Jan 2nd - Bare pavement, plow goes by with blade down.
- Jan 3rd - Bare pavement, plow goes by with blade down. No reply from the City.
"There are regulations in place regarding snow removal which should be followed. Suggesting that reason for plowing bare roads is somehow required to lessen the chance of legal action is grasping at straws," said Rennick.