Winnipeg committee to look at snow-clearing changes today

A Winnipeg council committee is set to look at ways to save money on snow clearing, but at least one councillor is dumping on a proposal to charge people for snow removal.

At least one councillor opposes idea of a snow removal fee

A public works audit report proposes a number of ways the City of Winnipeg can save money on snow removal, including the idea of plowing narrower paths and not clearing roads down to bare pavement. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

A Winnipeg council committee is set to look at ways to save money on snow clearing, but at least one councillor is dumping on a proposal to charge people for snow removal.

The idea of charging a fee is one suggestion from a KPMG public works audit report outlining ways to reduce costs related to snow removal.

Council's executive policy committee will discuss the report on Wednesday.

But St. Boniface Coun. Dan Vandal, who chairs the city's public works committee, says there's no way people should be paying a fee for snow clearing.

"I'm definitely not in favour of a surcharge for clearing our snow," he said Tuesday.

"That's why people pay taxes. Snow clearing is a very basic public service that people should depend upon."

The report also suggests that millions of dollars could be saved by plowing narrower paths and not clearing roads down to bare pavement.

That practice is already being done in other cities like Edmonton, where crews leave a five-centimetre base of snow on plowed roads.

"We basically level off the snow pack so we're not getting the ruts and it's a smaller amount of snow we put onto the sides each time. Again, we focus on the driving lane," said Bob Dunford, the City of Edmonton's director of roadway maintenance.

"People understand why and they accept it. It's definitely a compromise in that we don't have the room to stack the snow in windrows, on boulevards," he added.

Dunford said unlike Winnipeg, Edmonton does not have overnight parking bans, which hampers snow-clearing efforts.

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