British Columbia

Vancouver's mayor says city ready for next snowfall

The City of Vancouver says it's been salting and brining city streets for the past few days in anticipation of Friday's snowfall and maintains its crews are ready to deal with it.

Snowfall warning issued by Environment Canada

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson (left) and general manager of engineering Jerry Dobrovolny (right) said the forecasts have been inconsistent, but its crews are prepared. (Don Marce)

The City of Vancouver said it's been salting and brining city streets for the past four days in anticipation of Friday's snowfall and maintains its crews are ready to deal with it.

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria, the Gulf Islands and Fraser Valley late on Thursday evening. It predicts up to 15 centimetres could fall over the course of the Friday, and also warns of a second storm that will could bring more snow on Saturday.

At a news conference for the launch of the city's new Commercial Renovation Centre, Mayor Gregor Robertson faced a series of questions about what the city's plans are to deal with the snow.

"We are keenly aware there's a good chance of snow coming in the next few days, so crews are already at work preparing the roads with brine and making sure we're ahead of the curve," said Robertson.

But the mayor added that forecasts have been conflicting and the city will have to adjust its response accordingly.

"The weather reports are not consistent across different channels, so we don't know exactly what we'll get. We never really know what we'll get with weather here in Vancouver. But we're doing our best to prepare for this to make sure we go into this one as humanly prepared as possible."

Streets already salted and brined

The city's general manager of engineering, Jerry Dobrovolny, said because trucks have been out for days, there's a good amount of salt and brine on the streets.

He said all 40 of the city's trucks are cued and ready to respond.

During the last major snow event, many Vancouver side streets like this one were not cleared. (Tristan Le Rudulier/CBC)

"Our plan is a scalable plan: we'll put out as many pieces of equipment and crews as we need to, " said Dobrovolny.

"Our priority is the major arterial roadways: so bus routes, truck routes, major roadways through the city, bikeways."

During the last major snowfall event in Vancouver, the city was criticized for its slow response to clearing the ice and snow.

Robertson was blasted for being absent as calls grew for an inquiry into the city's snow removal plans and procedures.

He was asked Thursday whether he will be in town this weekend.

"I'm here this weekend. I do travel and represent the city all over the place," said Robertson.

"I'm not always in the Vancouver area every time there's a snow storm."

The city said if snowy conditions persist through the weekend and if there is freezing, there may be some delays in sanitation collection, because the areas serviced on Monday and Tuesday have some of the steepest laneways. It said it's working to salt residential laneways and is asking residents to clear sidewalks and driveways.