Downtown snow to be cleared tonight; residential streets later this week

By Glenn Hicks
March 6, 2018 - 2:00pm

Prince Albert’s snow plow crews have finished their work on the priority one routes, although ordinary residential streets likely won’t see any action until late in the week. However frustrations among downtown businesses over the snow clearing situation have now been eased.

Snow crews have switched their focus to so-called priority two roads around the city as they continue to deal with the large snow dump from the weekend and yesterday.

“We’ve now moved into bus and collector routes,” roadways manager Brent Kennedy told paNOW. "The [relative] lack of snowfall Monday night has enabled us to finish with all the main arterial routes.”

However, clearing up the priority two routes — which include the likes of 22nd Street, 13th Street and most of Central Ave — won’t be easy, and Kennedy figured that could take two days, meaning regular residential streets won’t start to be cleared until the end of the week.

“I would think the earliest [for residential streets] may be Thursday or Friday, but that’s just an estimate,” he said.

The city has brought in two hired graders to help with the big workload.

Downtown businesses get good news after voicing their frustration

Meanwhile the city’s snow removal plan for the downtown has Central Avenue and some sections of other streets as priority two roads. However it requires the snow to be trucked away as there are no options to plow to the side of these roads where the parking meters are located.

Rick Orr with the Downtown Business Association said the city had initially informed them the snow lift would happen only on Thursday night and that caused frustration.

Orr said business owners were shoveling snow off the sidewalks to make them safe for pedestrians but that was adding to the deluge in the parking areas which are effectively unusable at the moment.

“[They were asking] for the snow to be plowed possibly to one side of the street which would allow some access," Orr said. “Or, perhaps it could be plowed to the centre of the street before lifting it away.”

But just as business owners were left pondering how they’d cope until Thursday one of them contacted paNOW to let us know of a change of heart from city hall.

“I’d called city hall [to complain] and the mayor then called me back to say they’d changed their plans and can do the snow lift tonight," said a relieved Ron Horn, at Fresh Air Experience.

Speaking to paNOW earlier Tuesday Horn called the lack of snow removal a disappointment.

“We understand not everywhere can be dealt with at once but unless you have a four-wheel drive with winter tires you can’t come downtown. It’s totally plugged up," he said.

For Horn the frustration was compounded because he’s in the midst of an end-of-season sale and he said the snow on the streets impacted customer turnout.

“It’s an embarrassment for Prince Albert to have your downtown business core and shopping district, a key business artery of the city which includes city hall, not accessible, “ he said. He’d called on pressure to be put on city hall to change things and clearly his concerns were heard.

“You’ll be able to come downtown tomorrow and find a whole different situation,” he said.

Mayor Greg Dionne said the city was able to clear the downtown earlier than planned because they were able to bring in extra equipment, but he stressed the snow plowing priorities the city has in place are important.

"We have 1,600 businesses and 35,000 residents," he said. "While the downtown is important it is more important to get people to the hospital." 

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