Homeowners face metre-high windrows after lanes plowed
City of Winnipeg says homeowners responsible for clearing windrows from back lanes
Some Winnipeggers with back lanes behind their homes are having to do a lot of shovelling after snow plows left behind piles of snow and ice over a metre high.
Crews are plowing back lanes this week to get rid of deep ruts, but they are leaving leaving behind large ridges — also known as windrows — for homeowners to clear away themselves.
"They're not windrows, they're cliffs," River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow said late Thursday.
Plows came down the back alley of Rea Seitler's Ash Street home and left behind a 1½-metre windrow. It was almost as tall as Seitler herself, who is five feet 10 inches tall.
“[My garage door] opened, and I saw this mountain of snow — a giant wall of snow!” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. What is that?’”
Her neighbour called 311, but the person on the other end told her it’s a homeowner’s responsibility to clear windrows left by plows.
“This is beyond typical, and this is beyond what any homeowner should have to deal with, I think,” said Seitler.
Seitler has three children under the age of four and said there’s no way she can deal with the windrow herself.
Elsewhere on Ash Street, Doug Scott spent at least four hours on Thursday shovelling the windrow by his home, and the 77-year-old still had a long way to go.
"At my age, you learn to roll with the punches," he said, but added that he wished the plows didn't leave him with so much snow.
"Do it incrementally, rather than try and do it all at once!"
City not responsible for back-lane windrows
Currently, the City of Winnipeg’s policy states it's only responsible for windrows on front drives but not for the removal of windrows in back lanes.
The city admits that the icy windrows will be difficult to shovel away if they are not dealt with immediately, so crews will not plow lanes overnight.
Leslie Stafford is not impressed with the city policy. She and her son tried to chip away at their ice-block filled windrow for over an hour Thursday morning but didn’t get very far.
Stafford and her husband tried again Thursday afternoon.
“I’m fine with removing what’s behind my house — that’s a given. I’ve lived here my whole life,” said Stafford.
“I have a problem with them shovelling my back lane into the middle and creating these small glaciers. It’s insane!”
Some area residents wondered why crews are plowing back lanes down to the pavement when spring temperatures will melt all the snow soon enough.
'It's hard on us,' says plow operator
CBC crews caught up with one of the plow operators Thursday afternoon who said they’re between a rock and a hard place.
“We understand it’s an inconvenience for homeowners and it’s hard on us,” said Jay Squires. “We’re hired by the city to do our jobs.”
That job is to try and plow down to the pavement to deal with deep ruts that come when temperatures warm up.
Orlikow said the city should be required to remove windrows that reach a certain height.
At the same time, he said with the amount of melting and freezing that has been going on, the number of ruts are on the rise.
A city inspector visited the back lane by Ash Street and crews will try to reduce the windrow there, a spokesperson told CBC News late Thursday afternoon.
The city is plowing back lanes across the city between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and is expected to be done by Friday evening.
Dealing with windrows will be one of the issues that will be examined in a review of the city's snow removal operations.