$2M bill for weekend cleanup after Snow Emergency

Dwayne Dawson Executive Director of Operations for the City of Windsor said the tab for cleaning up Windsor's street after the record-breaking snow event is around $2 million. The typical annual budget for snow removal is $4 million.

Typical budget for the year is around $4M

Workers in Windsor were out early on Friday, February 9, 2017, clearing away the snow. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

All that snow over the weekend took its toll on the city's snow cleanup budget.

The tab for the hours snowplows spent clearing the streets of Windsor is approximately half of the annual budget, according to Dwayne Dawson, Executive Director of Operations for the city.

"When you throw in everything from the salt itself to the clearing of the roads and residential streets and the bus shelters, and the sidewalks the city is responsible for, the city's probably looking at close to a $2 million tab for this event," he said.

A typical annual snow cleanup budget is around $4 million, according to Dawson.

Dawson said 23 plows hit the streets at 3 a.m. Friday morning, and were out in full force throughout the night. He added that contracted plows and city staff started plowing residential streets at 5 a.m. Saturday morning.

"When we went to residential those 23 trucks were joined by 45 pieces of heavy equipment, ranging from road graders, backhoes, bobcats, front-end loaders, pickup trucks with blades," he said. The cost to run the equipment is about $20,000 per hour, not counting the cost of the salt.

Plows are still working on residential streets, according to Dawson, adding that cleanup efforts have been going on for 80 hours straight now. He said plows have completed almost one full pass of most residential streets.

"There is minor cleanup still to be done and crews are going to make sure the catch basins are clear so the water has a place to drain," he said.

Dawson said despite the blow to this year's budget, plows will still be out there when it snows. "We're going to make sure that the roads are clear no matter what. If it continues to snow we'll continue to clean it up," he said, adding they will look for opportunities to lower costs. Windsor's winter control budget is supposed to last from January 1 to December 31.

The good news is, the snow emergency is almost over, ending tonight at midnight. "We're coming out the other side," said Dawson.