Cape Breton woman frustrated by national park snow clearing
Resident says snow clearing is not happening overnight
A woman from northern Cape Breton says she's confused and frustrated by Parks Canada's approach to overnight snow plowing on the roads leading into and out of her community of Red River.
"The park says that if snow is forecasted then they're going to have plows on the road," said Niki Pike.
"We have this sense of security that if we drive over the mountain it's going to be safe. That's not happening."
Parks Canada is responsible for clearing the highways that pass through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, including French, MacKenzie and North mountains.
Their policy is generally to keep crews off the roads between 12:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. but in the fall, Parks Canada committed to keeping crews working through the night when snow was predicted.
But Pike said neighbours who have been travelling in the early morning hours this winter have met with several centimetres of snow. She's also worried about emergency vehicles getting through to her community.
Maria O'Hearn, a spokeswoman for Parks Canada, said crews have worked 24 hours straight a number of times this winter and they are meeting or exceeding service standards set by the province for its roads.
"The standards are, we plow within 12 hours after a storm and we plow after eight inches or 20 centimetres of snow accumulation," she said.
"We look at a number of things. We look at the forecast, we look at the current conditions. We have our crew who do checks of the road as well, so that have that first-hand knowledge. Then we make a call — do we put the crew on the road? And we look at the service standards."
Pike said that has left her uncertain what road conditions she can expect through the night.
"All I want is the same as what every other Nova Scotian has. I don't think we're asking too much," she said.
Pike said provincial highways are cleared as soon as there's enough snow to plow, no matter what time of day. She said she'll work with her MP to press Parks Canada to maintain a similar standard.