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 firstname.lastname@example.org.\