The city has a new policy this winter that roads should be plowed until they’re bare of snow. And while the pavement isn’t always bare, councillors say it’s working pretty well so far.

In November, councillors voted to add another $500,000 to the road-clearing budget so it could adopt a new “bare pavement” standard. It also changed the standard so plows would come out when eight centimetres of snow fell, up from the previous standard of 10 centimetres.

In Terry Whitehead’s Mountain ward, the small residential roads aren’t bare, the Ward 8 councillor said. But the arterial roads are.

There’s “no question” snowplowing is better this winter than last, Whitehead said.

“You still get the odd complaint, but the level is miles from what we were experiencing last year.”

The roads aren’t bare in Robert Pasuta’s Ward 14 in rural Flamborough either. But bare pavement is tough to achieve in the country, the councillor said.

“You can go through the ward and come back, and in half an hour, the road has drifted over somewhat,” he said. “But it’s not a hazard.”

As far as road clearing this year, “I think I’ve gotten one complaint,” Pasuta said.

This new standard of road clearing is “a good start,” said Coun. Chad Collins of Ward 5.

“So far, it’s been very positive, knock on wood,” he said. “I’ve had nothing but praise from the community in terms of response time.”

Collins was a vocal critic of the road clearing during a blizzard on Boxing Day 2012, when some side streets weren’t plowed for days.

“There’s no question that staff have done a tremendous job this year compared to last,” he said.

Since amalgamation, Collins said, snow clearing seems to go horribly wrong every six or seven snowstorms. But he’s happy so far this year.

With the extra $500,000, “we are plowing the residential areas quicker than we were before."