Work crews clearing snow on Second St. in Sidney, towards the end of the 2019 snow event. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Despite $81K overspend, Town of Sidney say snowmageddon might have made them money

Town had three salting trucks with plows, a backhoe, two small front-end loaders and a bobcat.

A Town of Sidney staff report detailing the effects of snowmageddon speculates the Town might have made money, despite spending three times their snow budget.

Brian Robinson, Manager of Public Works and Parks, presented the report to council, March 25. In it, he explains the Town’s reaction to the recent weather events and makes recommendations for the future.

ALSO READ: Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The annual budget for Snow Clearing and Removal is $35,588, which hasn’t changed since 2015. For most years, Town’s snow removal costs average $27,549, falling within budget. Snowmageddon, as the February snowfall is called in the report, cost $117,000.

However despite this large overspend, the report speculates it might not be as worrying as it appears.

“It is possible that savings generated in other budget areas (including those that were set aside while we responded to the snow event) will compensate for the overage in snow clearing. That is what happened in 2008, the last time that we had significant costs related to winter maintenance. In 2008, despite the $56,000 overage for snow clearing, overall operations generated a modest surplus.”

The report notes that council attracted criticism from some residents, but only received 15 items of official correspondence. All phone calls they received were passed on directly to relevant staff.

ALSO READ: ‘Two chicks by the sea’ saved by their guardian angels

The report lists the equipment Town had at their disposal as three salting trucks equipped with articulating plows, a backhoe, two small front-end loaders, and a bobcat. The parks department had two snow blowers and Town staff were equipped with snow shovels. Additional vehicles were also rented.

Clearance crews had a big challenge, being responsible for clearing 55 kilometres of paved roads, 80 kilometres of sidewalks and 4,090 serviced lots.

The report reminds readers that Peninsula municipalities do not have vast reserves of equipment and big snow-response budgets as their counterparts on the Mainland do.

“Putting this capacity in place may not be cost effective, as in most years, the equipment may sit idle while we wait for the next big event. A tempering of public expectation – based on these realities – is likely a more cost effective solution. After all, the taxpayers would be the ones footing the bill for the enhanced level of service.”

ALSO READ: Snow a boon to some North Saanich businesses

A detailed breakdown of what the Town achieved and prioritized, such as access to seniors’ residences and traffic routes, shows the scale of the challenge they had to deal with. Plans were implemented to keep as many front-line workers working in 24 hour periods as possible, lines of supply open and access to mechanical workshops clear.

According to the report, the budget overage of $81,000 was mostly spent on additional hours of overtime for staff, hiring equipment and buying salt.

The reports adds that 25 tonnes of salt are always stockpiled, and Sidney has the capacity to store 50 tonnes of salt and 50 tonnes of dry sand in total. Their supplier can deliver additional tonnes within 24 hours.

In future, the report advises Town to use its new Emergency Operations Centre, which wasn’t available at the time of the snows.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Snow

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

Welcome to grilling season: Saanich firefighter talks barbecue safety tips

Grills should be cleaned, serviced prior to use, firefighter says

Cycling scavenger hunt comes to Tweed City

Cyclists scour Oak Bay for clues in Bike to Work Week event

Colwood woman launches Adopt a Grad

Facebook page aims to support students during pandemic

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read