Published: January 18, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Red Lake’s winter control strategy is in effect says Operations Supervisor Noel Dumontier as crews continue to work on snow clearing priorities.
Since the last week of December more than two feet of snow has fallen across district elating snowmachine enthusiasts but frustrating homeowners, vehicle drivers and pedestrians.
Dumontier noted earlier this month crews continue to work within the strategy to free up roadways and sidewalks in a timely manner in the interest of public safety.
“I think we have been trying to be proactive on it,” said Dumontier in an interview on Jan. 6. “In the past they will usually let the snow fall until it is done before getting out on it. It will generally take two days to do a complete plow on a normal snowfall. One grader goes to Red Lake, one goes to Balmertown and then does Cochenour and then we have the plow trucks do Madsen and the subdivisions. The loaders do the hospital and the fire halls and then they chase the graders.”
The Winter Control Strategy notes routes to major work sites, schools and emergency routes are to be opened up first and plowing and sanding is to be concurrent when available. Hospitals and fire halls are also to be done first.
Dumontier says despite the civic holiday available municipal manpower was out clearing major roadways during December’s last storm, however, sidewalk clearing along major routes was delayed due to a staffing shortage. Equipment repair to each grader and the end-dump has also delayed some snow clearing effort this season.
“We are a small municipality and we have exactly the equipment to do the job. If one goes down then we are short. The problem with the equipment nowadays is that it is all specialized and when something breaks down on it you don’t necessarily know what it is or have the proper scanner to read the codes on it.
That has put us at a disadvantage because we don’t have a Peterbuilt or a Western Star or any big dealership in town and we don’t have easy access to those codes.”
Dumontier says he is always looking at ways of improving municipal service standards and that Red Lake’s response time is in line with similar municipalities.
“When I talk to other municipalities they get their main streets done rather quickly but I know their back lanes are weeks before they are plowed out. For the most part everybody’s is plowed out within three days.”