High snow banks a safety concern
Private operators plowing snow onto public streets from parking lots are causing some “very serious safety concerns,” according to the deputy mayor of Carbonear. Ches Ash raised the issue at a Feb. 21 council meeting. Ash said he has received a couple of calls from citizens complaining that in some areas where side streets intersect with main roads snow is piling up on corners, causing blind spots, which have become a safety issue for people attempting to turn onto those roads.
“ We have to find a way to deal with that because it is a serious safety issue,” Ash told council.
If snow banks are inhibiting the view of drivers, council should have something in place to deal with it. “ We need to demonstrate that is not acceptable,” Ash suggested.
He noted in one case a council crew had to go back and clear snow from an area, even though they didn’t put it there in the first place. He said council needs some kind of policy with “some teeth” to deal with this situation.
Brian O’Grady, director of operations and public works, said the town does have a snowclearing policy.
In response to complaints about residents pushing snow onto streets, O’Grady said he has been handing out copies of the regulations, a move which “ has been meeting with some success.”
The memo reminds residents that, “shovelling and/or pushing snow into town streets is a violation of the Town of Carbonear snowclearing regulations.”
Citizens violating the regulations can be fined $100 for the first offence, $250 for the second and $500 for the third and subsequent offences.
Mayor Sam Slade suggested contractors who plow snow onto public streets should be treated no differently than individuals. “ They should be asked to go back and remove the snow – and this should be dealt with immediately.”
Ash explained the snow wasn’t actually left on the road, “ but was piled pretty close to the side of the road.”
Slade asked town administrator Cynthia Davis to take another look at the snowclearing regulations, and if she finds “the policy is not strong enough to bring back some recommendations to council.”
Coun. David Kennedy asked O’Grady about the cost of acquiring a snowblower that could be attached to council equipment.
O’Grady replied they are quite expensive, in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.
O’Grady suggested one of the options council may wish to consider is a smaller sidewalk snowblower.
While council won’t be acquiring such equipment immediately, Ash felt it is something they need to investigate and look at the cost-benefit to the town. “Perhaps this is something to consider for the future.” Because the wing plows can only push snow so far back on the roadsides, O’Grady said they have started to use loaders to “ bucket the snow” and remove it to widen streets.
Meanwhile, Kennedy had some further snowclearing issues he wanted to talk about, but Mayor Slade preferred to deal with them in the privileged meeting, which followed the public session.
Council passed a motion to purchase two new interior doors from Speedy Auto Glass at a cost of $5,571.13.
The town made the decision, acting on a recommendation by the recreation, special events, culture and tourism committee to purchase the doors.
Town administrator Cynthia Davis told the Compass afterwards the doors are for the swimming pool. Davis said, “the original doors at the facility are deteriorating, and the town is replacing so many at a time.”
A couple of years ago four doors between the lobby and change rooms and change rooms and pool deck were replaced.
“ Two more are being replaced now. The town is budgeting so many at a time since they are relatively costly,” Davis noted.
The old stainless steel doors, which tend to rust faster in the high humidity levels at the pool, are being replaced with new aluminium doors.
Coun. Ches Ash, who chairs the finance committee, said the town has been able to save a little over $1,600 on its annual telephone bill after reviewing its telephone system with Aliant.
Town administrator Davis explained the revised telephone plan will mean reduced rates, “without any reduction to our current telephone service.
Coun. Ed Goff asked Rob Button, director of recreation and tourism, about the Heritage Society’s application for funding for summer students.
Town administrator Davis explained afterwards, “the Heritage Society is making application for summer students for tour guides and to assist with tourist information and the walking tours for the upcoming summer season.”
The town administrator noted the students, “will be taking a more active roll in the museums and Coun. Goff was suggesting the director of recreation and tourism provide assistance in this regard and to ensure they were aware of the upcoming deadline.”