I sat down with the Public Works crew as they were having lunch a few days ago. Outside the snow was falling briskly and conversation drifted to work that would have to be done once the guys had polished off their noon meal. (It’s a dedicated crew when precious lunch-time minutes are used to plan for work-time activities.) Would the airport have to be plowed or would a sweeping suffice? Depends on how much snow settles on the pavement. More than a couple centimeters accumulation and it’s too heavy to move with just the sweeper.
I was curious about who drives what in the stable of plow trucks, graders, sweepers, bucket trucks, vac trucks, and other sundry equipment. The vac truck is getting a rest just now but I noticed the bucket truck out in some pretty blustery weather supporting Mark, Lee, and Ben as they dismantled the seasonal Christmas lights. Mark did comment that it gets awful cold up in the bucket and maybe we should do all that decorating and undecorating in July. (Please let Blaine know if this works for you.) And where was Greg? Probably out with a piece of heavy equipment cleaning up the remains of the extraordinary dump of snow we received before Christmas. Oh yes, my curiosity: most of the outside crew operates most of the equipment.
Even Ed. When I left the shop, Ed was busy with his head under a raised dump truck box. Was he following protocol for working under tons of elevated steel? He was. The box was properly blocked in the raised position. We wouldn’t really expect anything else from a skilled professional mechanic.
Electrician Darcy gave me a demonstration of the new fluorescent tube eater and described how all the toxic components are separated, captured, and salvaged. The machine is built on a rather simple concept but it’s surprisingly efficient. Mounted on a metal barrel, the apparatus creates a vacuum in the barrel. A fluorescent tube, placed in the proboscis, is inhaled and whipped to powder in a nanosecond by spinning chains. The glass powder and metal bits settle to the bottom of the barrel while the mercury and other toxic components are sucked through a series of filters that safely sequester them.
Remember the fascinating carving competitions that happen in Chetwynd for five days every June? Of course you do! But I would hazard a guess that you don’t think often of what happens to the sculptures as the years go by. I’ll tell you: same thing that happens to us humans. They age and need tender loving care. With Joe still convalescing, that maintenance won’t wait. Chetwynd has contracted with Elmer Gunderson, one of the annual sculptors, to do vital maintenance and at the same time train other staff in maintenance techniques.
Amazing, isn’t it, what a Mayor can learn about the operations of the town simply by visiting a work site with eyes open on a snowy day.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor