By Anna Smith
Since winter can come at any time in Alberta, Cypress County took a look at their snow and ice management plan at the recent Council meeting.
It was noted in the agenda that Public Works has received an increasing number of complaints in regards to the cleaning of winter sand. Over the past few years, the level of service has been inconsistent, which has frustrated some residents.
Director of Public Works Kim Dalton provided a presentation to council, detailing the current plan and goals, as well as previous discussions on the matter.
“An important part of our snow and ice plan, the first part is the policy statement. So I like to move that out because it really encompasses what we’re trying to do,” said Dalton. “So Cypress county provides efficient and cost effective winter maintenance to ensure insofar as reasonable practice practical, practical, the safety of users of the municipal road network in keeping with Alberta legislation and acceptable standards, while striving to minimize adverse impacts to the environment.”
Dalton noted that the way that the county receives complaints has changed over the years, as it now includes things such as social media, which has allowed them to identify problem locations more easily.
Dalton also took council through two snowfall scenarios, and detailed how, presently, the equipment available would be used to make sure that the roads would be safe to travel on as quickly and efficiently as possible.
It was noted that snow removal in Desert Blume can be difficult due to a lack of a place to put the snow, but public works has mitigated it some by having a lease to store snow that was acquired last year.
Many of the calls received this year, said Reeve Dan Hamilton, were complaints in regards to the cleanup of sand after the snow is gone.
“Some of the phone calls I got this here was if you’re going to put the sand down and get it off, and change, right, if we’re, if it’s a low speed area, why are we putting down this sand, they have to learn how to get in and out themselves,” said Hamilton.
It was discussed how much sanding should take place in light of these complaints, and the council was in general agreement that internal roads should not be sanded, but intersections will continue to be sanded to help with traction and prevent vehicles from sliding into dangerous positions.
Council made the motion to currently uphold the level of service as defined in the Snow and Ice Management plan, and to direct administration to return with work procedures for newly acquired snowblower tractor and a plow trucks for winter snow operations.