One of the City of Victoria’s snow plows . Crews are working on a three-tier system of priority regarding snow clearance. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

One of the City of Victoria’s snow plows . Crews are working on a three-tier system of priority regarding snow clearance. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Victoria’s schools not a top priority for snow plows

The City of Victoria utilizes a three-tiered system in clearing snow from roads

Have you ever wondered why some roads are cleared right away and some aren’t?

Ed Robertson, assistant director of public works for the City of Victoria, has detailed the City’s emergency snow clearance plan that has been in effect all week.

The three-tiered system designates levels of priority for which routes will be cleared first.

Level 1 concerns major arterial roads, hills, decks and bridges. Also access to hospitals, and the police and fire departments.

The second level includes social care, homeless facilities, secondary roads and collection roads. Left-turn lanes with loop detectors also qualify for the second level.

The third level concerns residential streets, city parking lots and bike lanes.

WATCH: Boy on dangerously thin ice in Beacon Hill Park

Schools are responsible for clearing their own sidewalks and are not seen as a Level 1 priority.

“We have used 250 tonnes of salt and more is coming,” said Robertson. “On Saturday, we got through to Level 3 but for the last two days we’ve been at Level 1.”

He explained that crews are issued small maps of their sector and work through Level 1 until all roads are clear and then they progress to the next level. Whenever it snows, they have to return back to Level 1.

“We have five tandem dump trucks with plows and salt spreaders, three smaller trucks – also with plows and spreaders –and assorted other equipment like power brooms and Bobcats.”

Robertson added the City’s Gators, usually used in the cities parks and gardens, were also being utilized. “We put a blade on the Gators. When they’re not cutting grass, they’re out there moving snow.”

ALSO READ: Another snow day for Greater Victoria following night of snow fall

Robertson noted his department has a $40,000 training budget but receives operational money from the City’s contingency funds.

“As of yesterday, we’ve spent $25,000 and will go well beyond $40,000 by the end of the week,” he said.

The other Greater Victoria municipalities also have similar tiered systems and attend the same training courses as Victoria’s staff.

They also liaise once a year in the fall, where districts co-ordinate the boundaries of the areas they have responsibility for.

When asked how his crews, some working 12-hour shifts, were coping with the long days, Robertson said, “it’s tiring. There’s a lot of concentration plowing and providing assistance.”

In the wider B.C. context, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has four classes they use to prioritize road clearance resources for.

Class A roads are all numbered highways and are the ministry’s top priority. This includes Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway) and Highway 1 starting at Tolmie Street.

Class B roads are all major side roads. On the Peninsula, this includes roads such as West Saanich Road and McTavish Road.

Class C roads are all school bus routes.

Class D roads are all other roads that fall under the ministry’s jurisdiction. When possible, the ministry does co-ordinate with local municipalities.

In addition, during major snowfall events, the ministry will focus on keeping intersection travel lanes passable first, and then work to remove snow from dedicated turning lanes.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Severe weather

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

Just Posted

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Goldstream Food Bank volunteers at work. Light Up the City will be offering various options for the public to drop off non-perishable food items to support this food bank and others in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can show their charity through Light Up the City

Drive-thru food bank and toy donation dropoff sites open up this Saturday around region

North Saanich will encourage but not force residents to burn outdoor waste on days with good venting index. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich fires up comprehensive strategy report on outdoor burning, green waste disposal

North Saanich to encourage but not require residents to burn only on days with good venting index

The Town of Sidney will receive $2.75 million in direct grant support from the provincial government to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A report before council Monday recommends a “cautious and measured approach” in using the funds. (Black Press Media File)
Staff suggest Sidney be cautious spending $2.75 million from province

Staff also warn of financial ‘uncertainty’ and raise prospect of tax increase

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read