City snow plowing may not get any better this winter: Winnipeg councillor

Winnipeggers frustrated with the city's pace of snow clearing want officials to prioritize active transportation routes. Rosanna Hempel tells us what improvements are on the table at city hall.

Residents frustrated with the City of Winnipeg’s pace of snow clearing want officials to prioritize active transportation routes.

At its next meeting, the city’s infrastructure renewal and public works committee will discuss whether private contractors can help city crews plow snow this season, Coun. Janice Lukes said.

“I’m optimistic that we’ll have some better cleaning for the rest of the season, but we may not. It may be the same standard that we’re seeing now,” Lukes, who chairs the committee, told Global News.

That’s partly because the city is waiting on 15 pieces of sidewalk plowing equipment, which won’t arrive until next year due to supply chain issues, she said.

In the meantime, Lukes urges residents to flag problem areas to 311.

“I’m looking to sit down and have a session with the director of public works and have some dialogue with the communities to see how the city can do better, even within the limited budget that we have.”

Winnipeggers take snow clearing into their own hands

It was an uncleared bike lane on Westminster Avenue by Maryland Street that compelled a group of locals to scrape away the snow and ice themselves late Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve made the same complaints to the City of Winnipeg on their website, the same reports of the same streets and what’s happening and what’s the problem, and just they haven’t gotten anybody out to fix it,” Daria Magnus-Walker said.

Cars began parking on the active transportation route when the snow piled up, Magnus-Walker, a cyclist who joined the shovellers near her Wolseley home, told Global News on Wednesday.

“You can’t really blame the cars because (of) the way that the snow is cleared. You can’t tell that there’s a curb there, that they’re going up over the curb and onto the bike lane to park,” she said.

“We’ve already fought to have those things there, just to have them taken away in the winter … when we need it the most for our safety, it’s very frustrating,” she said.

The city clears residential streets based on policy, not according to a strict budget, Mayor Scott Gillingham told Global News on Wednesday — pointing to last season’s snowfall, which forced the city to blow over its budget by several million dollars.

“Plowing on Priority 3 streets shall commence after an inspection warrants a clearing operation, usually following a 10 cm snowfall accumulation or equivalent local drifting conditions,” the city’s website states.

However, residential snow plowing wasn’t announced until late Tuesday afternoon — even though about 14 cm blanketed the city by the morning of Nov. 11, according to Weatherlogics.

Read more:

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“It was thought that with the first snowfall, that that snow would settle, you know, and become kind of packed down,” Gillingham said.

Residential snow plowing is scheduled to start Thursday morning.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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