City of Salmon Arm asks for patience as staff catch up on snow clearing

Windrows, narrowing roads due to snow accumulation source of frustration for residents

The City of Salmon Arm hopes to use the cold yet sunny reprieve from recent heavy snowfall to catch up road clearing throughout the municipality.

City engineering director Rob Niewenhuizen said efforts by the public works road crew have left Salmon Arm’s arterial and collector roads in fairly good condition. The sunnier days forecast for the start of the week, Jan. 13 and 14, will allow them to focus more on residential subdivisions.

Niewenhuizen said although crews have been consistently working weekends and overtime since Christmas, progress on clearing streets has been hampered by the vast quantities of heavy, wet snow and mechanical breakdowns. He said one of the pieces of equipment that is currently out of action is the city’s large snowblower which is helpful for clearing windrows and the large snowbanks that have reduced some streets to a single lane.

Read more: RCMP remind Shuswap motorists to defrost before driving

Read more: Salmon Arm West Bay Trail project moving forward

Despite the staff hours and overtime, Niewenhuizen said the city’s snow clearing budget is holding up well.

Efforts to widen the usable portion of streets have been further frustrated by vehicles parked on them. Niewenhuizen said parking in driveways will help city crews as they try to reduce the piles of snow alongside the road.

The manpower and equipment constraints have led to a level of snow clearance which has not met some residents’ expectations. While Niewenhuizen understands people’s frustration, he calls recent related hostilities directed towards city staff “unacceptable,” noting the city has a zero-tolerance policy in effect to protect staff from verbal abuse.

Niewenhuizen thanked residents for their patience and suggested people help each other clearing windrows and other snow when possible.

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