St. John’s snowclearing OT budget almost spent

The Telegram
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St. John’s has spent almost all of its budgeted overtime pay for snowclearing for the year.

The city’s most recent snowclearing report shows the city has spent $260,000 of the $300,000 budgeted for labour overtime for 2014.

Overall, the city has spent almost

$3 million for all snowclearing, about $287,000 more than its year-to-date projections.

The city has a $2-million contingency fund in case snowclearing operations cost more than the $16 million budgeted for 2014.

Ward 3 Coun. Bruce Tilley, meanwhile, wanted to know why the streets in Cowan Heights hadn’t been plowed by 4 p.m. Sunday after snowfall earlier in the day.

Paul Mackey said it was the timing of the snowfall that was the problem.

“Each piece of equipment has a route to cover,” he said. “All the operators and the equipment were out on their routes, and each route is about 25 lane-kilometres to be plowed. They have to go through that in a priority order: do the high-traffic ones first, Priority 1s, then Priority 2s, then Priority 3s. People on Priority 3s wouldn’t see a plow for several hours after a storm ended.”

Mayor Dennis O’Keefe reminded Tilley city policy is for all streets to have had one pass with a snowplow within 12 hours from the end of a snowfall of less than 25 centimetres.

Geographic location: Cowan Heights

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  • Jay
    February 18, 2014 - 10:21

    Maybe the plow operators shouldn't re-plow side streets 3 or 4 times after they have already been done. Why do plows have to come back to widen streets a few more inches time and time again. We had a small bit of snow last night and I've seen the plow three times already. It's totally unnecessary, and more of a nuisance to homeowners than a help.

  • fogNL
    February 18, 2014 - 06:50

    I'm not surprised. They will continue to do this until they allow common sense to come into the equation. For example, on my street, the opposite side of the road is always cleared first, while my side is cleared usually a day later or later the same day. That's fine, I understand that. What I don't understand is days like Sunday when it turned quite mild by the evening, and if my side was left alone, it all would have melted. But instead, the plows were still coming around at 1am piling the snow up, cause it to melt very slowly, and then freeze over night so everyone on my street had ice walls by Monday morning. Those extra plows Sunday night were a waste of time, money and effort, and caused nothing but more trouble for the residents. Not to mention the numerous times I've seen the plow coming down the road pushing absolutely nothing around. This is a crescent street, so they werent just going from one place to another. There needs to be some thought put into the snow clearing, allow common sense to come into planning. On a side note, I would love for once in a while for the plow to do my side of the road first occasionally. Its frustrating to not only have to clear all my driveway, but then have to clear out to the middle of my street is a bit much. But I know that's probably too much to ask.

  • Jennifer
    February 18, 2014 - 03:50

    This is terrible. My road is never plowed as it is. I've called the city numerous times about street widening and lack of plowing and all they said was it's in the computer to be looked at. Snow clearing is already done extremly poorly, and now, with no over time pay. What hope do we have for the roads now ?