Meet the Mayor
December 5, 2013
If it feels like winter and looks like winter it probably is winter. That being so, and with the snow plows and sand trucks snorting up and down our streets, I am sure that some of you will be wondering about the logic of the order in which the streets are cleaned. There is logic. I remember writing about snow removal a couple years ago but time gets long and memories short so I’ll go through it again.
Some streets probably have higher priority than the street you live on. That’s life in the snowy north. It’s something like waiting for luggage at the airport carousel. Nobody’s luggage ever comes first. My street certainly doesn’t rate priority one. It seems like my driveway doesn’t either. I have this unrealistic goal to clear the snow before I make tracks in it. So far I’m losing. Maybe next year.
Chetwynd is committed to maintaining municipal streets, sidewalks, civic facilities, and parks in a safe and passable condition. I’ve taken the meat of this statement straight out of the policy manual and I believe that your crews do a first rate job. That said, it’s winter, and as a responsible driver you will have equipped your vehicle with good winter tires and be following safe winter-driving practices. That’s your part of the deal. As a pedestrian, you will have shod yourself to maximize the friction effect and will be wearing something reflective after dark.
However, into every winter a little snow will fall so I give you the District’s broad priorities: plowing, then sanding followed by snow removal.
Plowing is undertaken according to High, Medium, Low, and Other Priorities. Under High Priority, plowmen start with Hospital Road and finish with Fire Hall Doors. Between these two ends are the hills and Nicholson Road from Highway 97 to the Airport. Medium Priority includes the Access Roads, Westgate Road, the Legion Subdivision, and a few other streets and roads. Low Priority streets are in residential areas plus 48th Street in the Industrial Subdivision. Other Priority: everything else.
Downtown is usually plowed in the early morning hours when many of us are still dreaming of sugar plums and the streets are empty of cars. Crews try to get to downtown within 48 hours of the end of the snowfall. Any snowplowing during the dump will be undertaken only if it is absolutely necessary for health and safety of the people.
Clearing the runway happens after the streets and roads are cleared unless a call comes in to prepare for a medevac in which case crews have four hours to sweep the runway. Sometimes crews will have to scramble at any hour of day or night to prepare the runway for the ambulance.
This is far from an exhaustive accounting of how your streets are kept safe but it is a pretty good representation of the logic behind snow clearing and a solid explanation of why your street never comes first.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor