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EDITORIAL – There’s an easy answer to those driveway windrows – money

(Image: City of Kamloops)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

FIRST IT SNOWED, then it melted, then it snowed again. And then it melted.
As sure as it’s January, it’s going to snow a lot more, so let’s get the annual snow-clearance debate out of the way.

The big snowfall after Christmas brought a lot of complaints about the City’s snow clearance program, especially those infernal windrows. Aside from downtown parking, snow windrows are, without question, the biggest beef when it comes to City services.

And, year after year, nothing is done about it. The City improved the clearing of windrows in business areas last year but when it comes to homes, residents are still advised by the City that it’s each homeowner’s or renter’s responsibility to deal with them.

The only thing more maddening than finding a huge windrow blocking your driveway is shoveling that windrow out of the way just in time for a City plow to come along and create a new one.

Snow plow operators were taking so much guff that the City put out a plea to the public to stop being mean to them.

There’s a solution, of course, which is to invest in windrow-removing equipment, which a lot of cities are doing. Spokane, Wash., for example, uses what are called “snow boots” on its plows to prevent windows.

Grand Prairie went one better, buying windrow-removal machines to follow its plows. So why can’t Kamloops do it? Money.

Last year at this time I surveyed willingness to pay more taxes to get rid of the windrows. Half of those who responded didn’t want to pay a dime but the other half was willing to pay up to $40 more in taxes every year — that would generate around $1.6 million, almost equal to the entire year’s snow-removal budget.

Maybe a referendum would be worthwhile. If the public seriously wants something done about windrows, maybe it’s willing to pay for it.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.\

About Mel Rothenburger (8481 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca 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 ArmchairMayor.ca 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 – There’s an easy answer to those driveway windrows – money

  1. Sally Cornies // January 6, 2021 at 3:18 PM // Reply

    Living in the “bulb” part of a cul de sac is a nightmare whenever it snows, and as a taxpayer I take exception to being told that it is MY responsibility to remove the windrow at the end of my driveway. Year after year its the same. The property owner is blamed. I don’t think that anyone who doesn’t live in a cul de sac realizes just how bad it gets.

  2. Since an impassable windrow is not often an issue, paying someone a small fee to clear it may be the best option.

  3. Sean McGuinness // January 5, 2021 at 8:30 AM // Reply

    It’s a choice between windrow removing equipment or a performing arts centre.

  4. I think there are also street/development designs issues which do not take winter into account. If you want to see it first hand you should visit my (newer) street in Dufferin.

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