Snow removal has been completed in one neighbourhood out of 66 in Saskatoon, but the city anticipates 11 per cent will be done by the end of the week.
Goran Saric, director of roadways, fleet and support with the City of Saskatoon, says there’s a significant difference when it comes to complexity and effort for snow removing compared to snow grading.
About 4,000 lane kilometres of streets in Saskatoon have already been graded, he said. Now, crews are in the process of returning to those neighbourhoods to remove snow piles — a process that will take a bit longer.
He said that Priority 1 streets — the busiest streets with the most traffic in the city — are about 75 per cent complete and should be totally cleared by the end of the week.
Clearing remaining streets in the second and third priority levels will be scheduled for overnight over the next few weeks. Various priority streets in Saskatoon stretch about 1,600 lane kilometres.
“This work has been ongoing and will continue on,” Saric said.
A number of plows are hard at work clearing snow piles from neighbourhoods too, and a total of seven areas are expected to be finished by the end of this week or early next week.
The order of snow removal from priority streets is determined by the city’s emergency snow removal plan.
On Monday, work began on the Kensington neighbourhood, Saric said, while work also continues on the Caswell Hill, City Park and Riversdale areas.
The Nutana neighbourhood is the only one totally cleared to date.
As snow clearing continues, Saric said “no parking” signs are posted at least 24 hours ahead of when snow removal will begin, but crews might not get to areas right away.
The no parking restrictions are in place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. where signs are present.
Proposed dedicated tax levy for snow responses
The city’s governance and priorities committee will be considering funding options for snow removal.
The activation of the roadways emergency response plan is what prompted the citywide snow grading and removal.
About $14.9 million is in the city’s snow and ice management budget annually. Snow grading and snow removal on residential streets are not included in this total, though snowfalls in December of last year and November of 2020 did require immediate grading and snow removal on every city street.
According to a release from the city, the plan was only meant to be used in exceptional circumstances but has already happened twice since November 2020 due to major snowfalls.
As a result, city administration is recommending city council consider introducing a four-year property tax phase-in of 0.75 per cent for the budgets from 2024 to 2027.
In the release, Clae Hack, chief financial officer for the city, said the levy would both repay borrowing for the 2022 snow event while setting funding aside for future responses. He predicted the move would have the least impact on the city’s asset management programs and overall service levels.
Four funding options will be reviewed by the committee on Tuesday.