City report recommends adding $3 million in equipment to keep up with sidewalk snow clearing

The City of Winnipeg has a plan to improve snow clearing on sidewalks, but it will cost more money.

A new report at city hall found none of the policy timelines for snow removal on sidewalks and paths were met this winter because of the record snowfall and shortage of equipment.

"I could see that there was a clear disconnect between our snow clearing policy with the city and what was actually being delivered," said Coun. Matt Allard.

As a result of the report, it recommends adding 15 new sidewalk snow clearing machines at a cost of $3,017,400.

"Services cost money. I'm okay with that," one Winnipegger said.

I think it's a fantastic idea. I don't think the city was doing a good job this winter," another person said.

However, not everyone likes the proposed idea.

Jasmine Wiens said she thinks the money should be spent elsewhere.

"There's more garbage; the garbage cans aren't emptied regularly. That bothers me more," she said.

Right now, most sidewalks are cleared by city staff. To help meet proper timelines, the report recommends 506 kilometres of sidewalk clearing be transferred to contractors.

Snow removal is currently done on 3,000 kilometres of sidewalks, bike paths and park pathways.

"I think this should be an increased level of service for Winnipeggers, if we go in this direction," said Allard.

The city is also looking at ways to beef up snow removal on streets and sidewalks done by private companies with fines and by reducing the size of some zones.

It is looking at applying penalties to contractors if work in a snow zone is not complete within 12 hours. Currently, fines kick in at 36 hours.

Another change will see the size of snow zones balanced out, reducing the number of kilometres in some to make it easier to get the operation done within the 12-hour period.

Snow route parking bans could also change. They currently run from December to February but could be changed to be in place from November to April to adapt to weather conditions.

The city’s infrastructure committee is set to debate the changes next week.