The winter of Kimberley’s discontent

Twenty-year high snowfalls result in complaints to city

Snow removal operations in the City of Kimberley are coming under fire.

Snow removal operations in the City of Kimberley are coming under fire.

This has been a winter that makes skiers very happy. Conditions at the local ski hill are as good as they have been in many years.

However, it is also a year that has taxed the City of Kimberley’s snow removal abilities to the limit, and some citizens are not happy and letting employees at City Hall hear about it.

In a report to Council, Manager of Operations Mike Fox noted that during the first two weeks of February, Kimberley received 120 cm of snow — a 20 year high.

“The City does not have enough resources (equipment or labour) to remove this amount of snow within the ideal 72 hours after a snow event has ended,” the report reads. “The failure to meet the ideal time line has led to an increase in complaints to the City.”

The report notes that two areas received the most complaints, Lower Blarchmont and Marysville.

Council also received a letter last week, complaining about snow removal on Wallinger Ave.

Count. Darryl Oakley said he would like to see more support of city employees, who are doing the best they can with the equipment they have.

“We can’t go and raise taxes to get three more graders,” he said. “It’s important that people show a little more understanding. Our employees are doing the best they can. We don’t have any more resources for a major snow event like this.”

Mayor Don McCormick says that the several days of snow events, each following the other, was an aberration from the norm. Not only are the City’s resources for snow removal staffed and equipped for a normal year, but you also have to hope nothing breaks down during a big snow event, he said.

“There’s no question the number of complaints are up this year. We do keep track of every complaint and staff goes through them at the end of the season looking for opportunities to make incremental improvements. And I agree that staff is doing an excellent job.

“It’s winter. We’re in the mountains. We are a ski town. We should be happy with this much snow.”

It was also noted by Council that there were no complaints from Townsite or the ski hill, the two areas that traditionally receive the most snow.

As for the two areas that did receive the most complaints, the report notes that Lower Blarchmont was impacted by a significant number of vehicles left parked on the roads, which made it difficult to push back windrows during the first clearing days. For Marysville, it was simply a slow process. Once the snow was compacted and ice ruts formed, blows can’t clear them. Only graders and loaders can be used. The limitation of equipment slowed the process for widening the roads.