Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday July 3 2015
7:43 PM EDT
2014-01-09 at 15:53

Snow problem

A car makes its way up Oliver Road Thursday afternoon.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
A car makes its way up Oliver Road Thursday afternoon.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

The city is heading out to remove snowbanks for the first time in more than five years, or at least that’s the plan. 

Snowbanks have been reducing lanes and visibility on city roads this winter. City of Thunder Bay’s roads manager, Brad Adams, said he's hoping to have crews out Sunday night to start removing some of the larger ones near major intersections on both sides of the city.

"It all depends on the weather though," he said. "If we get snow Sunday then we will not be starting snow removal until we deal with the snowplowing."

According to Environment Canada, as of Thursday afternoon there was a 70 per cent chance this area would be getting snow on that Sunday. The weather forecast is also calling for a 60 per cent of snow on Friday and Saturday. 

The snowbank removal is something the city hasn't had to do since around 2009, Adams said. Removing the banks runs up to $28,000 a night.

"It's a very costly venture," he said.

Although there are cases of reduced visibility, it's not the height of the snowbank that causes the most concern. Adams said they usually remove snow when it starts to reduce lanes on the road.

Thunder Bay Police Service Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter said snow piles have been an issue and will probably be worse next week with more snow expected.

"It's winter driving. People just have to take into account that's one of the factors they have to remember when pulling out or making a turn," he said.

Numbers for the 2013 budget aren't in yet but last month the city was projected to be more than $1 million for its winter roads budget. Adams said while removing snow banks is costly for the 2014 budget it's hard to predict what the removal will mean by the end of this year.

"Time will tell on that," he said.



Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
smartguy83 says:
Why do people keep commenting on the city "crying" about budget over runs? I know there was an article on it before but where in this article does Mr. Adam's exactly stress budget over runs? People in this city are ridiculous. If you don't like it, move. We have a huge country with lots of booming cities and towns. It's that easy.
1/10/2014 2:57:11 PM
dockboy says:
Has city council forgotten where we live? Are they actually thinking that because of climate change we only have to budget 1/5 of the money compared to what the snow removal budget was in the 90's? Cut back on your donations to special interest groups and you'll have plenty of money for snow removal.
1/10/2014 9:33:02 AM
fastball says:
The City probably uses an average of the last 5-odd years' snowfall amounts to calculate a yearly budget for snow removal.
It makes no sense to budget to remove 10 feet of snow (for example) if we've only getting half of that amount lately. However, if you use averages, you have to accept that occasionally there are outliers. Last April, we got 79 cm of snow. Historically - in April we average about 7cm. You can't budget for that - and that's why you end up with a shortfall.
1/10/2014 11:06:35 AM
smartguy83 says:
1/5 the budget? Not sure where I have seen this FACT(?) but it sounds wrong.
1/10/2014 2:54:20 PM
stonecutter says:
All things considered, I think the city does a great job with the snow ploughing and removal.

Good job Mr. Adams!
1/10/2014 9:27:22 AM
damanisback says:
Didnt the citys snow removal budget guy -see how big the mountain ash berries got this year. Like hello!!!
1/10/2014 7:44:31 AM
livewire says:
The cities snowplowing savings from years past was spent on the waterfront ( pink elephant )
1/10/2014 5:29:24 AM
S Duncan says:
that's one of the reasons the city wants more bike lanes. they aren't forced to clear them in winter so they can spend less on snow removal and more on needles for the drug addicts.

citizens of the city don't need their snow removed, we need more free needle programs and bike lanes!
1/9/2014 11:08:50 PM
wasaya says:
Give it up already....you sound like a broken record.
1/10/2014 7:14:19 AM
S Duncan says:
you know you must be a cane shaker.

whats a "record" Its 2014.
1/10/2014 12:16:39 PM
PurpleLeaves says:
Says the guy who takes cliches literally...
1/10/2014 12:43:40 PM
Brutus02 says:
Why don't they just increase the water rate for our overbuilt water treatment plant and use that money for snow removal? Here is a solution, eliminate of half of the city council and use that money for snow removal.
1/9/2014 10:23:19 PM
silverado92 says:
@whatelseisnew .. You haven't got a clue!!!! Your comments are comical... If you hate it so much, leave .... and one more thing, unless you sign the cheque, no one works for you!!!!
1/9/2014 10:15:32 PM
samps says:
The people who choose to bike aren't the problem. Bigger cities have people biking all-year, why shouldn't Thunder Bay? Stick to the problem at hand and quit making yourself look a close-minded old man.
1/9/2014 9:10:39 PM
wrenchman says:
They should do something soon as the people on bikes are a hazard!! as the roads aren't narrow enough we have to have cyclists out there. There ought to be a law for this road hazard like we don't have enough to watch out with these driving conditions
1/9/2014 8:17:14 PM
CM Punk says:
I shake my head when I see people in my area literally dump the snow on the streets.
They're probably thinking that the plow will come and clean it up for me.
1/9/2014 7:17:40 PM
whatelseisnew says:
Is it me or does the town of Thunder Bay cry broke EVERY time they have to provide essential services that OUR tax dollars are paying for? In any other city across Canada snow removal is not a major budget breaker like it is here, and it is normally done while it needs doing, not when it reaches the point people are having accidents just trying to turn on to another street or exit a parking lot. If this town doesn't start remembering that snow removal is part of our geography between November and April then they need to stop throwing money away and start prioritizing the winter budget again because removal of snow banks up here isn't news, its a fact of life that hasn't been done.

Town hall has been cheating the citizens of this town by cutting corners apparently since 2009 regarding snow removal. Where is the saved money from 2009-2012? That's right, there isn't any because they keep shrinking the budget so we run overboard in (normal) situations like this.
1/9/2014 6:40:57 PM
smartguy83 says:
Can you show me your references please?
1/10/2014 2:46:43 PM
tbay99 says:
What did the city do with the money saved during the years with little snow? Seems they always want more money when things go bad but never give it back when things go smooth...
1/9/2014 6:30:37 PM
smartguy83 says:
Legit question with many answers.

First, there is a reserve fund. Unfortunately the reserve has been hit hard due to a late spring and an early winter.

Second, the City did it's job and allocated some of these funds elsewhere. We all know that if they City were to show a surplus everyone who likes to come on here and complain would have issue with a surplus in snow removal and demand lower taxes.

There are just the common sense responses without even getting into the details only city administration knows. Regardless, I trust them. Budgeting is not a science, thus errors will be made. It's mitigating them and addressing them that are the sign of a good administration.
1/10/2014 2:49:59 PM
NowayJose says:
Sure snowman52….makes sense . I live on a main street and snow blow both mine and my neighbour’s driveway. The snow from the “house areas” gets blown into our back yards. The snow from the “front lawn areas” gets blown into the respective front yards. The snow on “city owned property” (including that from the plow), gets put onto the boulevard where it belongs (where it should be). Think this through and respond again………….
1/9/2014 6:17:24 PM
Watchmaker says:
@Rootbear - with all respect, I suggest that you are likely part of the problem. Spinning means that you are trying to accelerate too quickly for the conditions, causing the snowpack to glaze over even more. Do you have winter-rated tires or do you drive on all season radials? The difference is enormous and I would encourage EVERY driver to invest in snow rated tires (e.g. they have the snowflake logo on them) for winter and switch out every summer. To do less is unsafe and irresponsible.
1/9/2014 5:52:35 PM
samps says:
It would be nice if everyone could afford a set of tires for every season, but alas, we all can not.
1/9/2014 9:16:41 PM
unknowncronik says:

Just be prepared to call your insurance adjuster a lot during the winter months...

Work it out on paper & you will see buying winter tires is cheaper than numerous deductibles, let alone the higher insurance rates to follow your numerous claims.
1/10/2014 7:57:10 AM
Synical says:
Or, he could just adjust his driving accordingly. I don't have winter tires, for the same reason. I simply can't afford them. I drive every winter, and have never been in an accident. And the very simple reason for that is, I'm a good driver.

Slow down, take corners slowly, leave plenty of room to brake. It's not rocket science, people.
1/10/2014 11:57:27 AM
fastball says:
Or you could do the math and see by switching your all-season tires for winter tires for a third of the year, you'd likely get another few years of wear from your all-seasons.
So, you'd spend practically the same money - and drive on a much safer tire.
1/10/2014 3:40:58 PM
snowman52 says:
Finally. Maybe the city could ask people who live on main streets not to pile the snow from their driveway onto the boulevard, as a start. It would make a world of difference if they piled the snow further back from the road (i.e. on their front lawn, where it should be).
1/9/2014 5:06:26 PM
silent rebel says:
You obviously don't own or take care of your own driveway....the bottom half in most cases is city property, so if i want to pile it onto the city boulevard then so be it. Also, do you really expect people to carry shovel-loads of snow up their driveway and into the centre of their yard? Where would the snow from our driveways go? Anyone who actually shovels snow would understand that isn't always possible...unless you own a snowblower, in which case, lucky you.
1/9/2014 6:28:33 PM
whatelseisnew says:
Are you serious? Its supposed to go on the boulevard because the boulevard is supposed to be cleared. Why should people put the snow from the road plow on their front lawn? Beside that why would they want a possible flooded driveway/basement come thaw? People should be blowing the snow from their boulevard on to the street like I have because lets face it...from the sidewalk to the street is the city's business. I know this for a fact because the water line from the city ends on YOUR side of the sidewalk. I pay high taxes for a "city" quite like this place and its about time people let the powers that be know who they are working for. In case you forgot its the tax payer.
1/9/2014 8:32:50 PM
smartguy83 says:
TBay does nothing that others City's don't do with snow plowing. I don't see those residents shoving snow back into the road. What a joke
1/10/2014 2:44:24 PM
rootbear says:
"It's winter driving. People just have to take into account that's one of the factors they have to remember when pulling out or making a turn," he said....if there's no traction at those stop signs, how the heck am I suppose to pull out into traffic? Even when it's clear to go, by the time I spin myself into traffic there's usually someone at my butt! Let's focus on that snow bank removal and not sidewalk patrol. Heck, half the people on my street walk on the road anyway.
1/9/2014 4:38:00 PM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In