During the October 6 council meeting

During the October 6 council meeting

Sparwood City Council extends windrow removal pilot program

Sparwood council agreed to extend the windrow removal pilot program for another two years.

During last week’s city council meeting, Sparwood council agreed to extend the windrow removal pilot program for another two years.

The program was implemented for the 2013/14 winter season and was provided after windrows — piles of snow that get pushed into driveways by plows tending to city streets —accumulated a height of 6” or greater.

“I don’t think one year is enough,” said Coun. Margaret McKie who asked to table the motion of extending the program. “I think we need the program to continue on in order to better determine [its] costs.”

Mayor Lois Halko concurred and suggested comparing the Sparwood program to the costs of similar programs in communities close to Sparwood’s size for future consideration.

In 2012, the costs for snow plowing, removal and sanding was $429,056.

The pilot program had been met with some criticism, according to city council, as the removal service did not provide full clearing or the cleaning of the entire width of resident’s driveways, but simply allowed for vehicle passage by knocking down the windrows.

“I was absolutely shocked regarding public response in terms of phone calls,” said Halko. “The majority, by far, maybe about 70 to 75 per cent of phone calls were negative or asking for something different … and I’m not sure if that’s an accurate reflection of the community, because talking to people in general I feel that people really support the program.”

Coun. Ron Saad was quick to point out that complaints are often voiced more than compliments.

“I have two beliefs,” remarked Saad. “The first is that most of the people were convinced that it was going to cost them money and it was going to come out of tax dollars. Second,” he added, “after working for this town for 35 years, nobody calls to tell you you’ve done a good job. I’ve heard a lot of awfully good response regarding the program.”

The Sparwood Public Works Department is responsible for maintaining more than 50 km of roads to reduce snow presence and create a safe and passable road condition.

The district is also responsible for maintaining sidewalks, trails and lanes within the District Boundaries.