Snow clearing raises resident’s ire

IT’S been more than a decade since this much snow has fallen in the city and as it builds up, so have complaints about clearing.

  • Tue Jan 31st, 2012 12:00pm
  • News

IT’S been more than a decade since this much snow has fallen in the city and as it builds up, so have complaints about clearing.

More than 4.5 metres of the stuff has hit the ground in Terrace since November’s start, straining city budgets and crews.

But one resident says the city is not only inefficient, but unaccountable for poor service.

“I understand the importance of being patient,” said Richard Jenniss, a Terrace resident who says his cul-de-sac was not plowed for about a month. “It was getting harder for me to back my truck out on to the street.”

Jenniss phoned city officials to see why.

After a city worker first challenged Jenniss’ version of event, he was passed over to roads foreman Henry Craveiro.

Craveiro explained that cul-de-sacs were lower on the plow priority list,  safety is at the top, and that priorities must be balanced with financial resources while clearing roads, said Jenniss.

He was also told that if residents shovel snow into a street, plow drivers have been instructed to skip them for safety reasons, he added.

Jenniss then decided to drive to city councillor Bruce Bidgood’s street.

“You know what, Bruce Bidgood lives in a cul-de-sac,” he said. “I’m going to go up there and take a look.”

He said a plow drove by and cleared it within minutes of arriving, and that the snow pile up was minimal.

“I’m not saying it was intentional,” said Jenniss.

In response, Bidgood said it had been three days since a plow visited his street ― adding he has not received any snow removal favours.

On the day city council had its meeting about snow removal, Bidgood said his truck was nearly snowed in on his street.

“Ironic as it was, I almost couldn’t get there,” he said, adding that based on record snowfall this winter, he thinks city workers are doing the best they can.

“It’s happening to everybody,” he said. “We have to grin, bear it, and look to spring.”

And for future winters, Bidgood said he would vote for adding more money to the snow removal budget, but needs to hear from people about where to take the money from.

“I’d like to hear people’s input,” he said, urging people to call the city’s talkback line or come to city budget meetings happening soon.

But Jenniss said if people are going to be willing to pay more, they need to trust where their tax money is going first.

He suggested GPS fleet tracking in all city trucks as a solution.

“It makes people more accountable,” said Jenniss.

“I just don’t happen to share Richard’s lack of trust,” said Bidgood in response. “All you have to do is drive around town to see where trucks are.

“It’s not an issue of people slacking on the job, or some people getting their streets done first. It’s a  matter of equipment and time and doing the best you can.”