Building a better snow and ice clearing policy: City committee


Article content

Edmontonians can expect to be hit with a blizzard of city snow and ice clearing advertisements as part of a “refreshed” document clarifying service levels.

Article content

A “refreshed” snow and ice control policy clarifying service levels in a procedure document was presented to community and public service committee councillors on Wednesday.

There are no service changes to the policy, but Philip Herritt, director of infrastructure operations, parks and road services with the city, said there will be an increased focus on communication with those who reside in the city.

“For the parking bans, for service levels and all types of stuff we’re working with the city’s communication department who’s also working with a couple experts in the field to address how to do that and we’re going to see a better use of technology around that,” said Herritt. “More ads in different winter apps, more availability of that information and more updated information.”

Article content

Herritt said the snow map on the city’s website will be updated every 1-2 hours to show what has been plowed and what hasn’t instead of updating the map at the end of shift as they have in the past.

Service levels were originally in the policy and Herritt said putting them in an administration procedures document will give some wiggle room.

“It will allow administration to be more nimble, react better to 311 complaints and through council make service level changes without adapting or changing the policy,” Herritt told Postmedia.

The city implemented operational changes last year including 12 hour shifts for operational staff and the availability of a city-wide parking ban. However, Herritt said the mild weather last winter didn’t allow them to implement the parking ban or measure the effectiveness of 12 hour shifts.

Article content

The refreshed policy has a goal to achieve three outcomes — safety, reliability and connectivity.

While the new policy was approved to be received for information, there was some concern raised about the use of calcium chloride during the committee meeting.

In 2019, city council voted against using calcium chloride for the winter and the new policy lists continued use of the chemical which Kristine Kowalchuk, representing the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition, causes negative impacts on aquatic life, vegetation and soils.

“While a number of environmental concerns have been raised in the past about the city’s snow and ice removal method, the report makes no mention of those concerns,” said Kowalchuk during Wednesday’s meeting.

She added the chemical corrodes bridges, asphalt, bikes and vehicles.

Herritt said no service level changes have been made at this time, but that could change next week when the policy is discussed with city council.