Nova Scotia

Winter storms put pressure on snow-removal operations

Halifax's acting winter operations chief and his road crews are under a lot of scrutiny this week, after last year's harsh winter drew hundreds of complaints about the city's snow-clearing efforts.

Operations chief says city has new tools at its disposal after last year's intense snowfall

Trevor Harvie, acting superintendent of winter works operations for HRM, said the city is ready for the second winter storm of the week. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Halifax's acting winter operations chief Trevor Harvie and his road crews are under a lot of scrutiny this week, after last year's harsh winter drew hundreds of complaints about the city's snow-clearing efforts.

The city's made some significant changes to its winter operations plan and is in good shape in the face of the second major storm this week, Harvie said.

"All of our trucks are actually out there now ... ready to respond as it starts to accumulate. We put down some salt product for de-icing purposes and we're ready to attack as it comes."

Road crews are expected to be out for most of the evening Tuesday as the second storm of the week hits Nova Scotia. (Steve Berry/CBC)

He said new technology is also making it easier for the city to track its trucks and to send them where they're needed most.

"We have a network where we have a GPS [global positioning system] in every truck and can see where they are to help emergency crews and general clearing."

'More Bobcats with blowers'

Harvie also said the winter operations department has some new tools to help prevent any icy buildup on streets and sidewalks that occurred last year.

"We have some heavier stuff, narrower stuff, more Bobcats with blowers, heavy stuff like loaders with wings." 

Harvie says the new plan should also reduce costs.

"We have secured performance-based contracts so the price won't change whether there is three inches or three feet [of snow]. Winter is a moving target, you never know what's going to come out the other end. "

Salt trucks prepare to head out to Halifax-area roads Tuesday. (Steve Berry/CBC)

The city also aims to increase vehicle ticketing and towing during winter parking bans especially around hospitals and schools. 

And residents are also reminded to call 311 for anything snow-related that requires the city's attention.

Snowblower sales up

This second storm is also boosting snowblower sales by residents. 

​At Pro Cycle in Dartmouth, sales representative Paul Thompson says his shop and others are facing a shortage of certain types of snowblowers. 

"Honda Canada had experienced a couple of production delays. So it's held things back," he said, saying the most popular size has been delayed until early January. "Not good, eh."

The severity of last year's winter has also played a role in the increase in sales, he said.

Thompson says many of the machines due to be delivered next month have already been sold. 


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