Winnipeg city Coun. John Orlikow is demanding a public review of how the city clears snow from its streets, calling recent efforts "subpar" and a failure.

Orlikow, who represents the River Heights-Fort Garry ward, says Winnipeg should have the best snow-clearing system in Canada.

But complaints in recent weeks about snow-packed and ice-slicked ruts on roads, and delays in plowing residential streets and sidewalks, have led him to one conclusion.

John Orlikow

Coun. John Orlikow says Winnipeggers likely have opinions on how streets should be cleared, so he'd like the mayor to call a public review and use the feedback to improve the snow removal system. (CBC)

"We failed. I believe the service was subpar. I don't believe, I know it; we all know it, that the service was subpar," he told CBC News on Wednesday.

"We have to fix those issues."

Some sidewalks still haven't been cleared around schools in some parts of the city, Orlikow said.

"If I'm getting this frustrated, I can't believe how much the public must be getting frustrated," he said.

"We keep being told these things — sidewalks will be cleared by this day. A week later, they're still not clear."

Snow route parking ban in effect

Snow plows were out in full force to clear Winnipeg's streets on Wednesday, as a winter storm blew through much of the province.

An extended overnight parking ban is in effect between midnight and 7 a.m. on declared snow routes across the city.

"With these winds that are in place for the next 24 to 48 hours, we'll be focusing on mainly on our regional networks, ensuring that the collector networks and the local residential neighbourhoods are maintained for passability at a bare minimum," said Jim Berezowsky, the city's manager of street maintenance.

While crews are clearing the latest snowfall, they're still cleaning up snow that has been dumped on the city in recent weeks.

"The load and hauling process will continue on. That's no different because there's a new event," Berezowsky said.

"In regards to the sidewalk plowing, we're doing everything we can to ensure that we're providing that attention to the community."

Intersections a concern

But some residents say the snow clearing is not happening quickly enough, especially on intersections.

"We can't see with the snowbanks, and I think that's dangerous," said Eunice Woodman, who is worried she and her grandchildren may end up in an accident.

Mike Desrosiers said the intersection outside his mother's business on St. Mary's Road is piled high with snow.
"You do have to peek around the corner before you get out there, and sometimes it's too late," he said. "In these conditions, somebody can easily slide into someone."

City officials say they're working on clearing the snow, giving a timeline of about four to six weeks.

Orlikow said Winnipeggers likely have opinions on how streets should be cleared, so he'd like the mayor to call a public review and use the feedback to improve the system.

"I'm not sure if it's a staffing issue, if it's a leadership issue, if it's politicians just not willing to accept responsibility. I don't know. But I know it is a problem," he said.