Mayor thanks snow plow operators for response during last snowstorm

By Kirk Winter

At the last committee of the whole meeting, Mayor Doug Elmslie took time out from the regular agenda to recognize the efforts made by the public works department in reacting to the Christmas snow storm and ensuring roads were safely cleared as soon as it was feasible.

“I want to talk about the snowstorm over Christmas,” Elmslie said. “It was a huge event and it just wasn’t in Kawartha Lakes. It was from the prairies to the Maritimes, from deep into northern Ontario to almost the Gulf of Mexico. It impacted a large number of people.”

“The problem of course was the wind,” said the mayor. “We could plow a road and within a half hour it looked like we hadn’t touched it.”

“I want to thank everyone who was involved in the plowing of snow and trying to clear the roads during that period of time,” Elmslie said. “They gave up their family time and gave up their Christmases. They gave up a lot in order to try to keep everyone in the city safe, and I thank them very much for their efforts.”

Bryan Robinson, director of public works, broke down for council in considerable detail that the city has 71 plow routes designated by staff. Over 60 are plowed directly by public works staff while the remainder are contracted out to private vendors.

“When we have a significant event (like a winter storm) we do run into challenges meeting the significance of the event,” Robinson said. “The Municipal Act allows us the right to declare…a special weather event. It recognizes that the municipality is going to have challenges meeting the obligations required for minimum maintenance standards and allows us some grace and additional time to provide that service and ultimately the goal is to meet those minimum maintenance standards and expectations.”

Robinson pushed back hard against statements made by some on council and many in the public that the city pulled resources off the road once they declared the special weather event.

“It (a special weather event) does not mean that we pulled resources off the road,” Robinson said. “It was quite the opposite in this case. We had full resources deployed for the entire event… every day from Dec. 23 to 28. We do have the ability if we deem it to be a risk to staff to pull resources off the road. In this particular case we did not. Our resources were out there full time. It was an extremely challenging event. It took a massive amount of resources and time to get that maintenance provided.”

1 Comment

  1. Joan Abernethy says:

    Most residents don’t care so much about laying blame as they do about being able to access ambulance and paramedic services during a big storm like the one we had at Christmas. Rather than trying to discredit the odd resident who complains about this worry, the City should look ahead and plan better for the future.

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