January 10, 2013
What's With All This Snow?
Residents in West Kelowna are feeling a little snowed in lately, and the District of West Kelowna and its snow removal contractor continue to welcome input as the kinks are worked out on this new service provision.
The District of West Kelowna contracted its snow removal and road maintenance services to AEL a division of HMC Services Inc., which began December 7, 2012, just days before the community’s first snowfall. There have been several snow events since.
“It’s been a challenge, especially over the past few days where we’ve had two snowfall warnings issued. We have been flooded with calls and emails to the roads office,” says Gary O’Rourke, the District’s Director of Engineering and Operations. “I am happy to report that AEL is demonstrating its commitment to providing the best possible service to West Kelowna residents. They are learning the nuances of snow removal in this community very quickly, thanks in large part to the input from the public we’ve received. “
Although many of the concerns expressed are about blocked driveways or snow-covered sidewalks – a by-product of plough activity on the roads – other concerns help to identify issues and areas that may require more attention. Each neighbourhood in West Kelowna has unique topography and vehicle and pedestrian movement.
“This is a large part of the reasoning behind a longer term contract. We understand that it takes time to identify and adjust the service provided according to the specific requirements in each neighbourhood,” says O’Rourke.
West Kelowna Council will be provided an update on its road maintenance contract, including its snow removal service, at its meeting January 22, 2013.
Residents with snow removal or roads maintenance concerns can contact 778-797-2225 or firstname.lastname@example.org during regular hours or after hours 1-866-353-3136.
Click here for more comprehensive information regarding snow removal, including a Snow Clearing Priorities Map.
Snow removal is conducted on a priority basis. The top priority is clearing arterial and collector roads, transit routes and roads with steep grades. School zones, school bus routes, town centres and population centres are also prioritized before all other local roads. During times of heavy and persistent snowfalls, road crews must continue to focus on higher priority roads in the municipality, which can lead to a delay in snow removal on local roads.
West Kelowna residents may also find helpful information including winter driving tips and snow tire information on the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s website at www.th.gov.bc.ca/SeasonalDriving/
Residents can aid snow removal efforts by ensuring vehicles are parked off-street to avoid interference with plows and sand/salt trucks. Residents are also reminded that snow plows are unable to avoid depositing snow in front of driveways when clearing streets. To minimize the amount of snow left in front of driveways, please shovel snow to the left side (when facing the property). Please also remember to clear sidewalks and pedestrian accesses fronting your property. The District of West Kelowna will clear sidewalks and walkways adjacent to civic buildings and parks.