Challenging winter for snow plowing, snow removal in Sioux Lookout
Tim Brody - Editor
The volume of snow Sioux Lookout has received, and sudden temperature changes have made for a challenging winter for municipal staff to stay on top of plowing and sanding roads, alleys, and sidewalks, and removing snowbanks.
Public Works Operations Manager, Mat Lelonde, added, “We also have a number of newer staff who have demonstrated their commitment and dedication, and continue to hone their skills with each snowfall.”
Lelonde explained, “The Municipality is required to adhere to the Provincially prescribed “Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways,” this Regulation, made under the Municipal Act, among other matters, stipulates the various snow removal requirements from roadways. The trend in weather events this season has been such that as we are about to make progress on snow removal, we get another snowfall, which requires us to pivot and turn our attention to the roads themselves. We have been actively working to keep the roads open and accessible, while also tackling the snow removal activities. To this end, we have a crew that works from midnight to 8:00 a.m., and another that works from 8:00 to 4:30 every weekday.”
Asked how plowing and snow removal in the municipality are prioritized, Lelonde shared, “The first priority is the plowing of roads. Upon completion of plowing to a level that meets or exceeds the Minimum Maintenance Standards, we turn our attention to snow removal. The clearing of snowbanks will be completed throughout the Municipality, as in past years. Priority for snow clearing/removal is as follows: first, we focus on major arteries and other areas with high traffic volumes, as well as business areas; second, we focus on school zones and blind spots; third, we turn our attention to urban areas that may be hazardous due to blind spots in driveways, and where the narrowness of lanes threatens traffic congestion. Additionally, we also utilize our grader when the snowbanks are high as we “cut” the banks and push banks back further to help until we can get to the snow removal and make room for more snow storage for future snowfalls.”
He added, “We want to remind and ask for the public’s assistance in winter road maintenance by avoiding pushing snow from your driveway and across the road. This often leaves small windrows, which harden quickly, and add to the roughness and unevenness of the road. In 2007, Council passed By-law No. 08-07, Being a By-law to Prohibit or Regulate the Use, Obstructing, Encumbering, Injury or Fouling of Municipal Properties in The Corporation of the Municipality of Sioux Lookout. This By-law, among other things, places restrictions on placing snow on Municipal roads and other property. Specifically, the By-law states:
5. WINTER RESTRICTIONS:
5.1 No person shall place, cause, or allow to be placed, any snow or ice from private property or from a boulevard onto the sidewalk, boulevard or traveled portion of any highway within the Municipality.
5.2 No person shall plow, relocate or store snow or ice on a boulevard, highway or drainage ditch without the written approval of the Public Works Manager.
5.3 In case of default of compliance with the foregoing, the Municipality through its officers, or any person acting under the jurisdiction of any Municipal officer, may clear and remove such snow and ice, and the expense incurred in so doing may be recovered by action, or the amount may be entered into the tax collector’s rolls and recovered in like manner as Municipal taxes.”
“We have been very appreciative in that the public, for the most part, is being very cooperative with respect to removing vehicles from roads at night. This is extremely important to facilitate our ongoing snow clearing and snow removal efforts,” Lelonde concluded.