Nanaimo crews ready for a winter wallop

City workers might not be wishing for a white Christmas, but they’re ready for one.

City workers responsible for keeping Nanaimo’s streets clear of snow and ice might not be wishing for a white Christmas, but they’re ready for one.

Preparations for battling winter elements begin in the summer months, said Brian Denbigh, manager of roads and traffic services.

“We have 25 pieces of snow and ice removal equipment and it all goes in the shop over the summer maintenance, repairs, painting … it goes on for awhile,” he said.

The city has three tandem dump/plow trucks, four single-axle trucks, 12 four-wheel-drive trucks, five backhoes and one front-end loader ready for whatever winter decides to throw at the Harbour City.

“We’ve held classroom training sessions and any new employees have been out with seasoned operators so staff are familiar with the equipment,” said Denbigh.

The city has a contract with Northwest Weather Net for up-to-the-minute forecasts.

“It works really well and can pinpoint areas of town that might receive more snow than others,” said Denbigh. “That allows us to get in there right away.”

Environment Canada is predicting another La Ninã weather pattern for the West Coast, which could mean a cooler and whiter winter.

“We had a La Ninã last year, but fortunately a lot of the snow fell at higher elevations,” said Denbigh. “Right now we’re not looking at anything too major, but you never know. I usually start breathing a little easier at the end of February.”

Heavy snowfalls in January and February depleted the 2011 snow and ice removal budget, leaving just  $10,000 available from the budgeted $600,000.

But with roughly three weeks left until the new year, Denbigh isn’t too worried.

“It’s difficult to budget for snow and ice, so $10,000 is actually pretty good,” he said. “In 2008, we spent 1.1 million on a three hundred and eighty thousand dollar budget.”

The 2012 snow and ice removal budget, targeted at $600,000, is awaiting approval from city council.

 

Snow angels

The City of Port Coquitlam is banking on ‘angels’ to help in the removal of snow and ice from city sidewalks this winter.

In its second year, the Snow Angel program connects volunteers with residents who have difficulties clearing the sidewalks in front of their homes.

A city bylaw requires residents to clear the public sidewalks in front of their property as soon as possible after a snowfall.

Pardeep Purewal, Port Coquitlam spokeswoman, said there was a good response from both volunteers and residents requesting snow angels last year, but a lack of snow shelved the program.

Nanaimo has a similar bylaw regarding clear sidewalks, but Brian Denbigh, manager of roads and traffic services, said the Snow Angels program is not something the city is looking into.

“They have something similar in Calgary with neighbours helping neighbours,” he said. “I would certainly hope if someone in Nanaimo had difficulty clearing a sidewalk, a neighbour would help them.”

For more on the Port Coquitlam program, please go to www.portcoquitlam.ca/Dynamic/Page5897.aspx

Just Posted

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read