Communication, policy, and management absence to blame for Revelstoke’s holiday snow removal problems.
Over the holidays the town was inundated with more than 60 centimetres of snow in 48 hours. Adding to the challenge, the snow fell on Dec. 24 and 25, when many people from the city had taken time off. This led to delays in the snow-clearing process, causing frustration in the community. Chief Administrative Officer, Evan Parliament, did an audit to understand what happened and how the city can better prepare for the future. Parliament released the results of the audit’s findings on Jan. 13, where four separate recommendations were made.
First, the City of Revelstoke stated that it failed, “to provide communications to the community prior to the snow event advising of the interrupted and/or delayed service occurring over the holidays.”
It was recommended the city provide better communication to the public when there are potential changes to city operations due to statutory holidays or extended periods of facility closures.
Second, the report recognized that the City of Revelstoke’s PW-10 snow removal policy, which covers the service levels and resources is outdated. Therefore it was recommended that the policy be revisited and updated to align with modern demand and to accommodate statutory holidays.
Third, the leadership during the holidays was not established to ensure there was a designated person to contact in the event of a major storm. The recommendation is to appoint personnel in the event of a storm and to ensure that relevant staff or contracted service providers are notified prior to an absence caused by statutory holidays.
The fourth issue was that the city and the CUPE collective agreement caused confusion. The agreement did “not identify essential services, particularly during statutory holidays.” To correct the issue, Parliament recommended specificity in a new collective agreement.
“The City of Revelstoke and CUPE consider the addition of language in the new collective agreement whereby statutory holidays cannot impede the deployment of necessary resources when a major weather event is predicted,” said Parliament in a press release.
With the recommendations implemented, the City of Revelstoke said they feel “confident” that the snow removal can be completed effectively.