Snow lifts frequent, but successful

By Thia James
March 5, 2013 - 6:12am

Snow removal operations in Prince Albert have been frequent, but city officials are proclaiming their success.

And each downtown operation comes at a cost of $20,000. The snow lifts in residential areas are not as costly, public works director Colin Innes said after Monday evening’s executive committee meeting.

“Each one of those areas will depend. A lot of those are in a crescent or an area where we know there’s other flooding and drainage areas. So each one, each one is different,” Innes said.

He said doing a big event – a large snow removal operation – downtown is costly because in order to be effective, it has to be done through the night, which means overtime pay for workers.

“With some of the residential areas, we’re able to go in there, there’s not people there during the day, so you can lift the snow, so it’s not costing you like it would be to do a lift down here,” he said.

The city has issued traffic restrictions several times over the last few months to allow for snow removal operations. Some have lasted a few hours, others for the bulk of the day.

Innes said because of the amount of snowfall, it’s been a big and challenging year. In 2006, there was a late March snowfall he estimated had cost $120,000 to deal with.

"It came very regularly here, so we had to stay at it.”

And because the snowfall eased up in February, there isn’t as much snow on the ground now as there would have been had the snow continued to come down as frequently as it had at the beginning of the season.

“I think we would have had more of an issue just with the fact we would have been spending our time removing snow and sort of regular snowplowing as opposed to picking up some of the snow in some of these areas where we know we’ve got problems,” he said, of the areas that could be affected by runoff.

He said the city has been able to get around to removing a lot of the snow, and said he thinks that has gone well.

“As long as we don’t have huge buckets of snow fall on us continuously over the next month, I think we’re OK on that.”

And city crews will soon move onto another operation – spring cleanup. Innes said that once the snow starts to melt, crews will go out to pick up the garbage revealed by the thaw.

“It’s been nice and white and white and nobody has seen the garbage because it was hidden under the snow then all of a sudden, boom, all the garbage appears,” he said.

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