NDP leader calls for snow-removal review

The province should ensure an independent review is undertaken of Charlottetown's snow-clearing efforts, says P.E.I. NDP Leader Mike Redmond.

Province must 'demand accountability' for Charlottetown snow clearing

The province should ensure an independent review is undertaken of Charlottetown's snow-clearing efforts, says P.E.I. NDP Leader Mike Redmond.

The difficulty caused by inadequate snow removal in the city has been enormous, said Redmond.

Crews have been working to clean snow from Charlottetown streets and sidewalks. (CBC)

He said he's heard a lot of complaints from Charlottetown residents about how long it's taking the city — which received 120 cm of snow in the past few weeks — to clear snow from streets and sidewalks.

"It is cause for concern when you hear that they can't get out of their home, or the street has only been plowed once in 10 days or the sidewalk is not passable," said Redmond.       

He wants Municipal Affairs Minister Wes Sheridan to step in and call for a review of the city's public works department.

"The province needs to show the leadership in this role, and push the process forward and, you know, really demand some accountability because people are very upset," said Redmond.

Sheridan told CBC News in an email that "both orders of government are doing all they can to deal with this challenging weather."

Plow breakdowns

Meanwhile, Paul Johnston, Charlottetown's manager of public works, said it's been tough keeping up with the abnormally large and frequent snowfalls, but that 75 to 80 per cent of sidewalks are now passable.

"It's a difficult passable, you're not going to be able to get a stroller or wheelchair or something on some of those sidewalks," he said.

Some sidewalks still haven't been plowed in a week, and are snowed in.

NDP Leader Mike Redmond says the province should push for a review of Charlottetown's snow removal situation. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

"We're having difficulty baring off streets, sidewalks are really difficult to bare off, you're not going to get summer conditions on your sidewalk in the winter season," said Johnston.

The city is receiving a handful of daily complaints about the sidewalk situation, he said.

The city owns or contracts 11 sidewalk plows, They've been working 16 hours a day, with Christmas and most of Boxing Day off.

They've also experienced many breakdowns.

It's tricky to budget for and plan the right balance of staff and equipment when snowfall is unpredictable, said Johnston.

The crews have been doing a good job, said Coun. Terry Bernard, head of the public works committee.

"I'm not sure Mike [Redmond] would know a lot of the breakdowns and some of the challenges the crews have had to go through Having said that, I can't remember a time when we've had this much snow in this short a period of time," said Bernard.

Bernard said the city did decide to concentrate snow-clearing in church areas for Christmas services on Dec. 23, rather than downtown for last-minute shoppers.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.