City on target with snow removal budget

By Ashley Wiebe
March 13, 2017 - 5:08pm Updated: March 13, 2017 - 8:03pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — Mother Nature may have spoiled Medicine Hat residents last winter.

A strong El Nino brough warmer than normal temperatures and a lot less snow than usual.

This year the city has seen an average amount of snow, despite the cold snaps and warm spells.

“I don’t mind snow, but when it comes and then melts, makes a mess and then comes back, I’m not a big fan of that,” said one college student.

“I feel like spring should be here and it’s not,” said another.

Close to 20 centimetres fell over the weekend in Medicine Hat and city crews quickly got to work on clearing it from main routes.

“We had crews out practically all day Friday up until about midnight,” said Craig Maunder, the operations engineer with the city. “We brought in crews again on Saturday morning at 4 a.m.”

But according to meteorologist Kirk Torneby, this is an average winter.

“Last year was quite a market year, right? With one of the strongest El Ninos on record?” he said over the phone from Edmonton. “(When) all is said and done, even though there was notably a few cold spells and an abnormally warm spell, when you look over the three month period for Medicine Hat, itself it was near normal.”

Environment Canada is calling for warmer temperatures for the rest of the week, but that doesn’t mean the city’s job is done.

“Our crews will be working this whole week here to address the melting conditions that we’re expecting,” Maunder said.

He adds the city’s biggest concern around any melt is making sure water drains properly and stays off the roads.

Once streets are cleared, crews will work at keeping snow away from catch basins.

“We have an annual budget of about $1.6 million,” Maunder said. “We’re coming up on about half and that’s kind of about right for where we sit on a normal year.”

It’s not unusual for Mother Nature to bring a bit of snow in April and if she does, the city says they’ll be ready.

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