Snow volume and sustained winds were the real challenge, says city official
As rural areas in Kawartha Lakes continue to dig out from last weekend’s winter storm, public patience with the pace of the clean-up by the city and private contractors appears to be wearing thin.
While things appear to be improving in Ward Six, residents of Ward One still report “mountainous snowdrifts” blocking numerous sideroads making travel “all but impossible.” One recent social media post from the Kirkfield area reported that good Samaritans had taken to snowmobiles to check on neighbours and deliver necessities to snowed-in residents. But even they have pulled their machines off the roads and fields because they were bogging down and becoming stuck as temperatures continue to rise well above freezing.
Bryan Robinson, director of public works for Kawartha Lakes is well aware that snow is not being removed quickly enough and shared the reasons in an interview with the Advocate.
“The reason a declaration of significant weather event was made on Dec. 24 and extended until Dec. 30 was due to the volume of snow and the high winds that led to sustained drifting of snow across roads,” Robinson said. “Roads that were treated appeared to be untreated in a matter of hours. We knew that even with all resources deployed, we would not be able to meet the standard level of service on the roads.”
“The declaration, and the conditions of some roads today (Dec. 28) being closed or snow covered is not related to staffing or equipment availability. It is the sheer volume of snow that is covering certain roads, in some cases, several feet of snow.”
“I cannot stress enough,” Robinson said, “that clearing this volume of snow and drifts from blowing wind has been extremely resource and time intensive. In some areas, it is taking an hour to clear one kilometre of road. We are staffed to the optimum level and contracted services have been utilized daily. The city took every action to prepare for this storm, and continue to take every action available to clear to the roads as quickly and safely as possible.”
“All 5,400 lane kilometers of roads and sidewalks throughout the municipality have been treated since the storm onset and we continue to operate under full callout as of December 28,” Robinson said.
“I’d like to thank the public for their patience and cooperation through this difficult time,” Robinson added.
Robinson also wanted to remind residents that Kawartha Lakes is the second largest geographic municipality in Ontario.
He said for driver safety, snowplow driver’s hours are limited by provincial regulations, and that if a citizen sees a truck with their blade up or not applying material to the road that means the plow is currently travelling to or from their designated route — and often times trucks need to travel other roads to reach their assigned routes.