City of Kenora crews is hard at work cleaning up the result of Tuesday’s snowstorm that saw roughly 16 cm of snow fall, which caused troubles for drivers within the city and on highways.
Kevin Gannon, Director of Engineering and Infrastructure who oversees snow clearing operations spoke on the progression of the plow efforts following the storm.
“Our department is managing it within the tools and the availability that we had. Fortunately, we didn’t have a lot of staff off and were able to maximize our output,” Gannon said.
Snow was falling consistently throughout the day giving crews no time to adequately clear main thoroughfares throughout the city.
As a result of the fast and furious snowfall Gannon was forced to declare a Significant Weather Event.
“We couldn’t keep up to where we thought the levels of service need to be, especially for the collectors and the arterial roads, which are the main roads for people to get in and out.”
The main thoroughfares in Kenora are Lakeview Drive, Railway Street, Veterans Drive, Highway 17, and Airport Road to name a few.
Declaring such an event allows the city a little more time and leniency to get their service levels back to where they need to be to manage the snow event.
“It also is a fantastic tool to be able to educate the community that this is significant, please be careful when you’re out there, we’re out there doing the best we can. It’s a lot of snow quickly and the roads may not be up to the standard we want them to be.”
In Ontario, municipalities have to follow Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways, which include snow accumulation.
It’s stated within the regulations that if a municipality declares a Significant Weather Event there are standards for snow accumulation that need to be met.
The first standard is monitoring the weather both current, and forecast that will occur in the next 24 hours, once every shift or three times per calendar day.
The second is if the municipality deems it practical, deploy resources to address snow accumulation on roadways.
If the city complies with the above standards all roadways within the municipality are deemed to be in a state of repair with respect to snow accumulation.
Municipalities also have a time frame to clear roads, and Kenora has a priority map that breaks down which streets are plowed first, and how long until plowed after the snow event ends.