Editorial: Do we expect too much from plows?

Perhaps we are expecting too much of the city's snow-clearing crews.

The Alberni Valley was hit with 30-plus centimetres of snow over the weekend, and the complaints about unplowed streets were flying as much as the flurries.

This is the second major storm to hit the Alberni Valley on a weekend this winter: both times, the city had crews out plowing, brining and sanding as much as they could. This time they had the brine trucks out on Thursday in anticipation of weekend snow.

Snow on the west coast is an afterthought compared to places like northern BC, the prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, where a foot of snow on a weekend is no huge cause for concern. That’s because cities in those other places expect such snow all winter, and are well equipped for it. Port Alberni has seven trucks in total to plow the entire city—what city CEO Tim Pley calls a small force. The snow clearing budget isn’t that high compared to other cities either.

In this age of immediacy—where we want everything now, because for the most part we can have it that way—we are expecting too much of the city’s snow-clearing crews.

The city is in a catch-22: they could increase their snow-clearing budget, but that money has to come from somewhere. Where do they cut?

The city is already facing major change as it tries to cope with aging infrastructure and a stagnant population base. No new population means no new tax revenues.

We advocate patience over an even higher snow-clearing budget. If anyone has a better idea, bring it to the city.



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