City of Vancouver rolls out new snow fighting strategy
Municipality says it's applying lessons learned from last winter
The City of Vancouver says last winter was a one-in-30-year event. Even so, it says, it's made a number of improvements and additions to its snow plan for this year.
Salt and more salt
Normally, the city usually keeps a salt stockpile of about 3,000 tonnes and generally uses about 1,000 tonnes. Last year, it used about 14 times that, so this year, it says, it will be keeping about 11,000 tonnes on hand.
Officials say they'd like to avoid a repeat of the chaos of people scrambling for free salt.
"Hoping people plan well ahead and having gone through the experience of last winter will get salt well in advance. So, we are hoping we won't get to the point of having to give salt away again," said manager of street operations Ken Brown.
The city's snow budget, which has usually been around $780,000 per year, has now increased to $1.62 million per year with $4.5 million invested in purchasing equipment, upgrading the yards and installing traffic cameras.
The city admits some of the additions come after many complaints from residents whose small side streets and laneways remained encased in ice and snow for weeks, leaving them stranded and garbage collection disrupted.
It says it has added 10 new four-wheel drive trucks that will be able to get into and clear smaller spaces.
It has also doubled its brine-making capability, which, it says, can extend the time before roads need to be plowed by two to three extra hours.
Responding to complaints from last year about bike paths being cleared when walkways weren't, the city says it has purchased three more of these vehicles to do both.
Park Board Plans
The park board has a 64-page snow plan that includes outfitting mowers, that normally cut grass, with blades and brushes to cut through snow.
"Number one priority is community, senior and daycare centres, so people can get their kids safely to their programs in the morning and seniors can get to swimming pools ... their yoga programs. Whatever they are involved with," said Vancouver Park Board director Howard Norman.