Snowclearing ride an eyeopener, St. John's councillor says

Coun. Jonathan Galgay says a first-person tour aboard a St. John's snowclearing truck showed him just how much illegally parked cars can do in slowing down cleanup efforts.

Jonathan Galgay says illegal parking at root of many snow-removal troubles in downtown

Jonathan Galgay says many of his Ward 2 constituents' complaints about snowclearing are valid. (CBC)

Coun. Jonathan Galgay says a first-person tour aboard a St. John's snowclearing truck showed him just how much illegally parked cars can slow down cleanup efforts.

"It's pretty incredible, to say the least," Galgay told CBC News, describing the time he spent with a crew that ran into one obstacle after another in trying to clear snow on congested downtown streets.

"It was quite an experience to manoeuvre our way through the downtown," said Galgay, adding that removing illegally parked cars required considerable effort as crews were trying to clear and widen streets.

"We went to a place last night on Patrick Street, [where] there is a vehicle completely covered in snow. You would not have known it was there," said Galgay, who chairs the city's public works committee.

"It's a risk to public safety. There's no question."

The City of St. John's has not yet introduced its annual downtown parking ban, which Galgay said may need to be revisited in future, in light of the heavy snowfall that arrived during December.

Even so, he said, illegally parked cars have made dealing with the large amount more complicated.

"If you have a vehicle that has not been moved in a couple of days, we'd encourage you to move it, because if not, we are going to move it for you," he said.

Will fight for resources, if necessary

Galgay, who represents Ward 2, said many of his constituents' complaints about snowclearing are valid, and added that illegal parking has caused many of those problems.

Galgay was openly critical of the city's snowclearing effort when he campaigned for September's election.

Now a councillor, Galgay said he wants to ensure that the city has sufficient resources to deal with the heavy snowfalls that have fallen in the last few weeks.

"Do we need to bring more staff in? Do we need more equipment?" he said. "Whatever they need, I'm willing to fight and advocate for that."


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