Mayor Brian Bowman may be considering having a "Know Your Zone?" app created to help keep Winnipeggers in the know, but a local union representative is still encouraging drivers to share their thoughts—and photos—of the city's snow clearing operations fresh off the first residential parking ban of 2015.

On Wednesday morning, CUPE Local 500 president Mike Davidson addressed the city’s executive policy committee about concerns over private and public snow clearing efforts in Winnipeg.

Davidson filed a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) looking for data to compare the work done by private companies contracted by the city, and the in-house snow clearing performed by the city.

Snow plows

CUPE Local 500 president Mike Davidson is displeased the city currently contracts out 80 per cent of its snow clearing efforts to private companies, leaving only 20 per cent for city crews. (CBC)

But Brad Sacher, the city's director of public works, responded saying the city doesn't keep or compare that kind of data. The city had more resources to devote to snow clearing last winter and received good value from contractors, he said.

The city has said that this winter, 80 per cent of snow clearing labour has and will continue to go to contractors, leaving the remaining 20 per cent to city crews.

Davidson decried the current division of labour, saying "the balance between the 80 [per cent] and 20 [per cent] is out of whack."

Sacher added that public approval rating on the city's snow removal was at 75 per cent for the winter of 2013-2014, something he is happy with considering how brutal last winter was.

'Know Your Zone?' app, improvements

Councillor Jeff Browaty said there are still things that can be improved with the city's "Know Your Zone?" parking ban notification system, but added Winnipeggers don't care who clears the snow-laden streets, so long as the job is done well.

The city is looking for ways to leave obvious markers that would let anyone entering a parking ban zone know that it is scheduled to be plowed.

Bowman also said the city may begin to use social media to better inform the public about its snow plowing operations.

"I'd like to consider any and all suggestions on how we can better communicate with citizens," said Bowman. "It's no secret that I'm looking to see the city of Winnipeg modernize it's communication tools, and using social media, using apps."

Bowman said the city is considering creating a "Know Your Zone?" app to help keep Winnipeg drivers more in the know when it comes to parking bans.

"It's one of many tools, but it's not the end-all," he said. "I use social media a lot, but I also read the newspaper, I watch television, listen to the radio. So everyone is going to pick the platform and communication tools that suit their needs.”

Currently, 3-1-1 has an app, but Bowman said the "Know Your Zone?" app is still in the conceptual phase.

Between Feb. 13 and Feb. 15, the city towed 1,605 Winnipeg drivers and doled out 6,697 tickets.

Want to know which neighbourhoods were the most ticketed during the city's parking ban? Search the table below. 

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