Central Okanagan  

Snow removal frustration piles up

What's the old saying - "There are two sure things in life, death and taxes!"

You can add a third, people are rarely happy with the level of snow removal no matter what community they live in.

recent poll on Castanet shows 64 per cent of people in the valley, from Penticton to Vernon, do not believe their respective municipalities are doing enough when it comes to snow removal.

Only 36 per cent of people believe enough is being done.

The biggest thumbs down is in West Kelowna where the municipality recently changed road maintenance contractors.

West Kelowna entered into a five year contract with AEL, a division of HMC Services Inc. to provide road maintenance which includes snow removal.

The contract took effect December 7.

In West Kelowna, 79% of respondents (404) voiced their displeasure in the level of snow removal service so far this season.

While vote totals varied dramatically up and down the valley the sentiment was similar.

  • Kelowna, 59% dissatisfied - 1114 votes
  • Penticton, 70% dissatisfied - 86 votes
  • Vernon, 67% dissatisfied - 70 votes

Some of the reaction from around the valley was also predictable.

From Dave in Vernon. Our roads are kept in deplorable condition. The main roads are ok but all of the sidestreets in Vernon and Coldstream are plowed once after a snowfall, no sand or salt, and it's a virtual ice rink. Even with good tires you are still required to drive dead slow! I don't understand how 30 years ago all roads were plowed, sanded and salted! Ever since privatization - year after year - the roads are maintained less and less!

From Chris in Glenrosa. I don't want to sound like 'that guy,' but the road clearing in Glenrosa and area has been disgusting. The small trucks with the box sanders? Really? I mean they would almost be better not doing it at all. They dump a small strip down the the centre of the road during their single pass. Last year with the large rigs with the belly blade it took two passes and they always did a good job.

Not all reaction was negative. Caleb in Kelowna has some positive words.

If anything I want to thank the city for the work they are doing. I had done snow removal for a few years so I know what its like to try and push snow throughout the night to open roads and parking lots for the public the next morning. What the public doesn't understand is what it actually takes to keep things cleared. If it snows through out the night, the snow can pile as fast as its cleared. The best the city can do is keep trucks running through out the night Sunday morning (Dec. 16) as I left for church I found most of the main roads were just fine. So this being said, I want to again thank the city for doing the job they are.

Evarel, who lives in the Beaverdell area says roads from her area to Kelowna are plowed to different standards.
I live in Carmi near Beaverdell, and would have to say that we have some of the worst road maintenance service in the province. A person needn't be a worldly traveller to come to this conclusion - all they have to do is travel outside of Emcon's Beaverdell maintenance area, which is from Westbridge to the McCulloch Rd./Idabel Lake turn off, on any snowy day. The quality of the road surface improves immensely once you pass into a different maintenance crew's area. DriveBC has installed a highway camera at the McCulloch Rd. turn off. It is pointing towards Kelowna and shows a portion of highway maintained by a different crew. I feel that this is very misleading to travellers. I check that camera often before leaving for Kelowna and many times it has shown a highway that is well ploughed and sanded. What it does not show is the inferior conditions of the highway from that point south. More often then not that difference is quite significant, a few inches of snow at times.
The final word goes to Lori in Kelowna who has some words of wisdom for anyone who ventures onto the roads.

Are they doing enough to clear the roads? You’ve got to be kidding me that 40% of people say no! This is sickening as I just spoke with a plow truck operator that was finishing a 14 hr. shift. Maybe learn to drive in the snow and slow down! Snowing for two days straight now can be a little hard to keep up with I’m sure. Look at 50% of people's driveways and sidewalks. They can’t even keep up with that! Give these guys a little more credit as they are working very long hours, days, nights, weekends and are only trying to make things safe for all of us. SLOW DOWN and be thankful!

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