Lacombe Express File Photo

Lacombe City Council reviews snow removal policy

Policy will affect snow clearing service levels for public roads, sidewalks, and trails.

At their regular meeting on Monday, Council amended the Snow Clearing Policy as proposed by City administration, to affect snow clearing service levels for public roads, sidewalks, and trails.

“The Snow Clearing Policy directly affects municipal snow clearing service levels for public roads, sidewalks, and trails,” said Director of Planning and Operations Jordan Thompson. “The policy amendments will result, in some instances, in a higher level of service expectation in certain sections of the community.”

Snow Clearing Policy Amendments to the City of Lacombe’s Snow Clearing Policy include:

  1. Reference the new facility name, Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex, throughout the policy document.
  2. Amend section 7.4 (b) adding a new Priority 2 road: the lane on the south side of the Lacombe Senior Citizens Lodge from C&E Trail to 58th Street.
  3. Amend section 7.4 (b) and (c) increasing the priority of downtown core lanes from Priority 3 to Priority 2. In practice, crews strived to give priority to the downtown lanes due to their higher usage. Making this change will not have negative impact to other snow clearing operations.
  4. Amend 7.4 (c) to indicate that snow removal operations may occur at anytime during scheduled work shifts, not just in the “early morning”.
  5. Consolidation of schedules A and B for readability. For information, areas identified for snow clearing will have snow windrows on the side of the road and areas identified for snow removal will have snow hauled offsite.
  6. Amend Schedule A to increase the priority of Wolf Creek Drive from Highway 2A to Highway 12 from Priority 3 to Priority 2 as it is an emergency access route for the Lacombe Police Service.
  7. Amend Schedule A to increase the priority of Telford Crescent from C/E Trail to the lane due to the traffic and pedestrian volumes present on the road during the school year.
  8. Amending section 4.1(b) regarding the commencement of snow clearing operation on priority 3 roads from 12cm snowfall accumulation to 12cm of snowpack. This differentiation ensures the policy aligns with current snow clearing practices and associated contracted services budgets.

Nuisance Bylaw Snow removal by City crews, or by contractors on commercial sites, can be very noisy, and disturb the sleep of abutting or adjacent residents. Sections 11-14 of the Nuisance Bylaw restrict the use of machinery where it will disturb a residential building between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekend.

Section 15 however, provides exemptions to this rule, as businesses must be ready for their employees and customers to arrive as soon as they open, which may very well be at or before current bylaw regulations allow. Clearing in the downtown core would be difficult, and much riskier, if vehicles were parked and pedestrians were present.

“A review of the Nuisance Bylaw with respect to this provision will begin later this year, in conjunction with other areas of the bylaw identified by Council,” said Director Thompson. Sidewalks and Trails Currently, Parks staff clear snow and ice from sidewalks under municipal ownership within 48 hours after the conclusion of the last snowfall.

Property owners are responsible for those sidewalks abutting their property. Current service levels for clearing trails take place Monday to Friday, exclude statutory holidays, and are limited to asphalt covered areas.

“Staffing and equipment resources for the Parks department have not increased in recent years,” said Community Services Director Brenda Vaughan. “This, coupled with the addition of new infrastructure, has led to rare occasions where the City did not meet the requirement for snow removal from all city sidewalks and trails. Proposed changes to sidewalk and trail clearing service levels will be presented for Council’s review during 2019 budget deliberations.”

Enforcement Enforcement Services had no changes to its enforcement levels regarding the removal of snow from sidewalks.

The City issued 55 tickets during the 2017/2018 winter season. This figure is line with previous year’s enforcement.

Public Notification The City uses its social media channels as the primary method to advise citizens of planned snow clearing and enforcement activities.

Advertisements are also placed in the local newspapers, on the back of City utility bills, and on the radio station. Letters are delivered to each residence fronting a sidewalk that will be covered by a windrow, and finally, onsite signage is placed along the streets at least 12 hours in advance of snow clearing operations.

-Submitted by the City of Lacombe

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