City of Fernie to extend pilot snow removal program

Councillors voted unanimously on Sep. 17 to extend the program due to a lack of data points and disruption due to the pandemic

The City of Fernie has voted on extend the pilot project and community engagement process(formally called the Service Area Prioritization Framework) for snow removal into the 2020-2021 winter season during a Special Meeting of Council on Sep. 17.

The snow removal program being continued is the same as the one that was first initiated in February 2020, which outlines five levels of prioritization for snow removal. The previous program had been labelled as “unsustainable”.

READ MORE: New snow removal pilot project for City of Fernie

According to Zabrina Pendon, the City of Fernie director of operational services, the number of data points gathered during the original pilot (five) in the previous winter season was not enough for an adequate assessment.

Additionally, an anticipated public survey, which was meant to be carried out between April and August 2020, was postponed due to the impact of the pandemic.

From data gathered earlier this year between Feb. 18 and Mar. 14, Pendon reported that operator engagement had improved after each plow, the pilot had seen consistent completion of services within the service response time, and there was an improvement in clearing access to critical water and sewerage infrastructure.

At the same time Pendon reported challenges in securing personnel to work overtime shifts, and clearing windrows and parking lanes was more difficult during warm and cold temperature fluctuations due to ice.

From the pilot so far, Pendon reported that lanes in the business areas of town should be included in plowing services, service at leased facilities will need to continue with a more refined scope, a more formalized notification system is required and a more precise delivery timeline can be achieved.

City staff also noted challenges in training operators due to planned retirements and a backlog of ICBC testing for younger drivers.

Pendon recommended that councillors vote to extend the project by directing staff to prepare operations for snow clearing services under the pilot program, and report back to the council in Q1 of 2021 with more data and full feedback from the public, targeted stakeholders and operational results, to create a proposed draft of a full policy on snow removal.

Councillor discussion included queries on the number of staff leaving the city and the challenges of training new staff, differences in the level of service between the business areas of the city, and a brief discussion on what to do about by-law enforcement to ensure no parked cars block snow plows.

The motion to extend the pilot was unanimous.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Voting day: Elk Valley braves the cold to vote for next MLA

Today is the last chance for voters to have their say

Green candidate for Kootenay East, Kerri Wall (centre) voted in Fernie on Oct. 24 along with her son and his girlfriend. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
With polls closed, BC Greens candidate Kerri Wall reflects on the campaign that was

Wall said she was settling in for a long wait until full results were known, and wished the BC Liberal and BC NDP candidates good luck

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read