Snowfall costs Mission $165K

The initial brush with winter consumed 46 per cent of the district's snow removal budget for the year.

The first big snowfall of 2012 to hit Mission has cost the district roughly $165,000 out of the $360,000 budgeted for the year.

Matt Dunham, operations manager for the district, said increased snowfall in recent years has led municipalities to ask for more snow removal money, likely to increase to $500,000 in the coming budget.

Mayor Ted Adlem at council Monday addressed the municipality’s snow efforts.

He said he received about 50 e-mails offering mixed reviews and two voicemails that summed up the mood.

“The first voicemail three or four days ago was complimenting the staff of the District of Mission on how well they had kept the snow controlled and how awesome it was to drive around the hills.

“And the next voice mail, five minutes after the first one, asked me if we owned a snow plow,” he said, generating laughter from the gallery.

Reached by phone on Tuesday, Adlem elaborated.

“During a heavy snowfall you’re never going to have great roads, and unfortunately there are those folks that just don’t understand,” he said.

Despite the difficulties, Adlem thanked snow removal staff in public works on behalf of council.

“There’s a bunch of people that were working non-stop without any sleep, without any food, and without any family time.”

Adlem said staff follow a procedure to maintain the roads as best they possibly can with the 13 pieces of equipment owned by the district, working around the clock to clear and remove snow from roads and parking spaces.

The mayor acknowledged some streets might never get plowed during a heavy snowfall since the priority is to keep the main thoroughfares open.

Some residents have complained about the lack of plowing on First Avenue/Lougheed Highway between Grand and Murray streets. Dunham said the district is only responsible for clearing the parking portion of downtown, while the responsibility for clearing the highway falls to the province.

“But we’re not going to be on their case to plow it because they don’t have anywhere to put it,” he said, adding that trucking snow out of the downtown is costly. And when the province plows snow off the street into the parking spots, it only creates problems for the municipal plows to find a new place to put it.

Dunham said Mission would be happier if the province would just dump salt and sand instead and let the district deal with the snow.

“We’ve had some discussions with taking [Lougheed] over, and that’s something I think we’ll be discussing more in the next while,” he said.

With temperatures returning to 10 Celsius on Tuesday, coupled with rain, attention has shifted to potential flooding.