Ottawa's snow threshold held firm at 7 centimetres

Ottawa city council has approved changes to the city's snow removal operations that are expected to save the city $2.7 million annually.

Other measures expected to save winter operations department $2.7M annually

Ottawa city council voted Wednesday to keep the snow-clearing threshold at 7 centimetres. (CBC)

Ottawa city council has approved changes to the city's snow removal operations that are expected to save the city $2.7 million annually.

But after hearing from an angry public, council stopped short of rolling back the snow-clearing threshold — the amount of snow allowed to accumulate before plows head out to clear roads — from seven to 10 centimetres, a measure that could have saved an additional $1 million.

The changes were passed without any discussion or questions from councillors, but at a recent transportation committee meeting Coun. Keith Egli said he heard loud and clear from residents that the three-centimetre difference would be a burden, especially for people with mobility issues.

"Staff had a job to do and that was to provide options," said Egli, who chairs the committee.

The committee chose not to change the snow-clearning threshold, a decision upheld by council Wednesday.

A report prepared by consultant KPMG also suggested the city could save another $1.2 million annually by adjusting salting and plowing routes, or "beat optimization," and a further $1.5 million by relying more heavily on outside contractors.