EDITORIAL – ‘Slow’ snow removal nothing that higher taxes can’t fix

Past week has been busy for snow-clearing crews.

It hasn’t been an easy winter. (File photo)

An ArmchairMayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WOULD YOU have paid more for faster snow removal this past winter?

Would you pay more next winter?

These are questions taxpayers need to ask themselves every time they complain about city services, which a good number have done with respect to the snow situation this season.

City councillors had a lengthy discussion about it at this week’s council meeting and will talk about it more at a workshop in the fall.

Complaints to City Hall about snow removal number in the hundreds, and the issue is easy to fix — just throw more money at it.

But where does that money come from? Coun. Denis Walsh suggested it could come from “efficiencies.” That’s always an easy thing for politicians and taxpayers to say but not nearly so easy to do.

Another option is to cut services somewhere else. Which services would you like to see cut in order to see the snowplow on your street more often? Bus service? Parks? Recreation programs? Road repairs?

And then there’s the tax option. Simply raise taxes by, say, a few hundred thousand dollars. Yet at a public budget-input session that same evening, people told council they want lower taxes.

The fall workshop will focus on possible shifting within the existing snow-clearing budget but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. Any changes within what’s already spent aren’t likely to be felt at your house.

Urban dwellers aren’t alone, of course, in fretting about snow. It’s exactly the same in rural areas, where provincial contractors are hired to keep the roads passable. And who will ever forget that snafu on the Coquihalla? Could have been avoided with a few million more dollars.

So if you want something done about the snow, get ready to open your wallets. And don’t call for tax cuts in the next breath.

About Mel Rothenburger (5858 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – ‘Slow’ snow removal nothing that higher taxes can’t fix

  1. My street has big piles of snow on it, not from the City plow trucks, but from residents removing snow from their drive ways and sidewalks onto the street. Currently the street has been narrowed to one lane because of the large piles of snow in front of residents homes, making it very dangerous and obstructing site lines when pulling out of driveways. I don’t understand why people would put the snow they want to have moved on to the road. Why would they not put the snow on their lawns. We live in a dry area, and the trees and grass could use the extra water, and it is absorbed in the ground, so we will not have to worry about the warm weather creating flooding in these situations as well.

  2. I firmly believe on matters of snow removal a better plan and improved efficiencies would achieve more with less. There are few major inclined arterial roads in Kamloops and they all are not far from the City’s maintenance yard, they should seldom have any snow clearing issues.
    I also firmly believe the bylaw about sidewalks clearing should be promptly and consistently applied.

  3. Ken McClelland // March 2, 2017 at 6:30 AM // Reply

    My only complaint is the practise of plowing snow in big piles up against the sidewalk. Life for downtown businesses is difficult enough without limiting access to their storefronts by making parking difficult and requiring people to clamber over the snowbank to get to the sidewalk. Why not plow the snow to the middle of the road as shown in the photograph, and haul away at night? I seem to remember this being the method several years ago.

  4. Lawrence Beaton // March 2, 2017 at 6:16 AM // Reply

    Maybe the city needs to learn how to handle its funds in a more appropriate fashion. Instead of continually running to the public trough for more financial support.

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