Bashaw town council commended its Public Works staff for recent snow removal work despite many challenges including a shortage of staff and severe weather. The report was made at the Jan. 17 regular meeting of council.

In a phone call to the ECA Review newspaper Jan. 19 Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller stated Public Works Foreman Patrick Taylor’s monthly report to council, usually included in the “consent” or regularly approved items, was pulled out for discussion. Fuller stated snow removal was the reason for discussing the report.

In his report Taylor noted snow removal from Bashaw’s general roadways was completed although the town office apparently received numerous inquiries, complaints and requests for additional snow removal.

Taylor stated in his report the town may want to communicate with residents about the municipal snow removal policy and how snow removal is handled to help residents better understand why snow is removed the way it is.

“Administratively we may need to collect concerns, triage them and then share with Public Works,” stated Taylor’s report. “Many people call, expect their issue to be addressed immediately or within an unrealistic time frame.

“We must triage the concerns from a municipal ‘framework’ versus private responses. We anticipate putting up signs, communication etc. when/where snow removal is to occur.”

During discussion Fuller pointed out Bashaw usually employs a grader operator with 18 years of experience to handle snow removal, but that operator is currently unavailable; the operator at hand has five years experience and, said Fuller, is doing the best job he can. The CAO also pointed out Public Works has many duties to balance with snow removal.

The CAO noted that councillors discussed the town’s snow removal policy, which is similar to such policies in other communities, which spells out priority streets which are cleared first, then identifies later priorities such as residential streets.

In Taylor’s report, which was echoed by the CAO, there were two suggestions on how residents can help town staff clear snow: in residential areas snow should be shovelled onto lawns or yards and avoid shovelling residential snow onto sidewalks or streets.

The CAO stated that councillors commended town staff on recent snow removal work.

Cold snap

Taylor described some of the challenges the Town of Bashaw had with the recent extreme cold snap. “Staff were not operating equipment with temperatures below minus 35 degrees Celsius,” stated the foreman’s report. “Equipment does not function properly in the cold.”

Taylor noted during the cold snap there was also a tournament held at the arena. “In the future we may want to close the facility when the temperature is below minus 35 degrees Celsius,” stated the foreman’s report. “Staff reported multiple operational challenges due to low temperatures.”

He also noted the town received a number of complaints about water and sewer service freezing up. “Several locations have been determined to be property owner responsibility,” stated the foreman’s report.

Power issues?

Taylor noted in his report the Public Works staff was reviewing information related to the provincial emergency alert that occurred during the cold snap when it was feared the provincial power supply wouldn’t meet demand. “We are reviewing requirements that may require arena operations to be cancelled due to electricity grid challenges,” stated the report.

“Arena operation would be considered ‘recreational’ or ‘non-essential.’”

Councillors unanimously accepted the Public Works report as information.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 31, 2024 at 13:05

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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