Chilly neighbourhood

Hamilton roofs and roads remain covered in frozen snow during the deep freeze. (John Rieti/CBC)

Winter 2014 was an expensive one for the city, and the bills keep rolling in.

On Tuesday, councillors on the city’s public works committee approved a one-time outlay of $6.88 million in reserve funds to pay for unexpected road and water main repairs that were conducted earlier this year as a result of the unusually frigid winter.

Around $3.7 million of that money is for repairs on roads that had been cut or torn up to fix broken water mains and other damaged infrastructure.

The other $3.2 million is to pay for repairs that have been completed on city water mains and fire hydrants.

The city has a dedicated pool of money for emergency repairs like these, but cold temperatures between the beginning of January and the end of March forced public works manager to exhaust the fund before winter was even over. 

'In the first three-and-a-half months of the year, we did a full years worth of work.' —Dan McKinnon, director, Hamilton Water

Hamilton experienced its coldest winter in 20 years this year. The city tallied more than 12 days with temperatures below –20 C, compared to just three the winter before. City staff dealt with more than 200 calls about frozen or broken water mains and pipes during the winter.

Public works managers were forced to use outside contractors to make the repairs, which wrapped up in the spring, said Dan McKinnon, director of Hamilton Water.  

“The phrase I’ve used before is that, ‘In the first three-and-a-half months of the year, we did a full years worth of work.”