District of Sparwood logo and flag. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

District of Sparwood logo and flag. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

‘The best snow removal’: Wilks praises Sparwood crews ahead of another snowfall

Up to 35cm of snow are expected to fall in the region in the next 24 hours, on top of more than 50cm over the last week

A lot of snow has fallen on Sparwood in the last week, and with more on the way, Sparwood Mayor David Wilks said residents needed to give snow removal crews space and time to do their jobs.

“These guys have a job to do – let them do their job. They do it exceptionally well, and we have a process where we push the berms to both sides of the roads, and then we come and clean them when we can.

“When we get 50+ cm of snow like we did last week … you’re bogged down. This is going to take a little while, but people expect it to be done immediately, and that’s not how it works.”

The forecast ahead of Friday (Jan. 7) is that another winter storm will bring up to 35cm to the Elk Valley, according to a warning issued by Environment Canada.

Wilks took to Facebook earlier this week to call out what he said was a minority of people in Sparwood that took exception to snow removal efforts, saying that stopping road crews to complain was inappropriate and slowed down the entire process.

“I feel at the odd time that I need to speak out. What happens is the operators get stopped on the road – and that’s not on.”

With so much snow falling in the area, he said that the crews in Sparwood had been working around the clock.

“These men and women do an awesome job. They’re working 14 hours a day every day. They’ve had one day off which was Christmas day, and I got it for that because that was the day we got the big snowfall and we didn’t do the roads. But they need a break, because they bust their ass.”

Community acknowledgment of snow removal efforts online is almost universal, with regular posts on community groups praising works done – something Wilks agreed with.

“We have some of the best snow removal, probably in Canada.”

But, for those days that the snow fell thick and fast, residents would just have to wait, because it would be done eventually.

“We’re fortunate in Sparwood because we’re a newer community, our streets are wider and we can deal with more snow load. We’re getting to the point where we’re running out of places to put it but we’ll see what happens in the next 24 hours.

“People adapt – most neighbours help each other out. If I need to get out I move my own berm. I’m not waiting. I know they’re coming but if I really need to get out, I’m moving my own. And most of the people in Sparwood, and Elkford and Fernie are good that way. They’ll help their neighbours out.”

READ MORE: Elk Valley property assessments on the way

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