Surrey council has plenty of praise for the snow-removal efforts of city staff in recent weeks, but would still like to know if there are enough resources in place should the region face similar winter weather in the near future.
Council is expecting a report from staff following a series of snowfalls and often sub-zero temperatures which left municipal employees working around the clock to clear city streets covered in snow or ice.
“I think I reflect a lot of the thoughts of councillors when I say I very much appreciate the efforts of outdoor staff over the Christmas holiday and New Year’s holiday in dealing with the inclement weather, which I hope is not going to become the norm,” said Coun. Dave Woods at a council meeting Monday (Jan. 16), adding that he asked staff to answer some questions in the report.
“I’d like to know, does the city need more equipment? If so, what additional equipment? Did the city have a sufficient supply of salt and sand? Did the city have sufficient human resources?”
The severe winter weather which began in late December and continued until early January was last seen in the winter of 2008-09.
While main roads were usually kept clear, some residents were frustrated by the snow and ice on less frequently used side streets.
Surrey Operations Manager Rob Costanzo said the city “learned a lot of lessons from that winter” in 2008-09, including increasing capacity for storage of salt from 4,000 to 14,000 metric tonnes.
Surrey budgets $3.6 million for snow clearing each calendar year, and even with the heavier-than-usual snowfall, Costanzo said the city was “just under budget for 2016.”
– with files from Kevin Diakiw