Fall­ing snow raises costs

Souris faces big in­crease in mov­ing the white stuff

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY STEVE SHAR­RATT

Get­ting rid of the white stuff this year is go­ing to cost a heavy load for one Is­land town.

While some com­mu­ni­ties have been lucky enough to dodge the bul­let, Souris is brac­ing for a whop­ping 38 per cent in­crease.

“It’s a sub­stan­tial in­crease this year,’’ says Mayor David MacDon­ald, “so much so that the pos­si­bil­ity ex­ists that we might go look­ing for ten­ders next year.”

MacDon­ald said the town has con­tracted with the same com­pany for the past few years, but the com­pany took such a big loss in 2015, the con­trac­tor is seek­ing a larger chunk of money this year.

The bounty of snow that blasted the mil­lion acre sand­bar last year was a ma­jor headache for those try­ing to clear the roads, but it was even worse for in­di­vid­u­als or com­pa­nies work­ing on a low ten­der price that ended up barely cov­er­ing the gas.

“We’re not blam­ing the con­trac­tor, they give good ser­vice,” he said. “But they took a big loss and we felt the in­crease is too much.”

The vol­ume of snow that fell dur­ing an eight-week pe­riod in 2015 had oper­a­tors and equip­ment work­ing around the clock and the rate for Souris this year has jumped from roughly $70,000 to al­most $100,000.

De­pend­ing on where you live, snow­fall ac­cu­mu­la­tion tal­lied up from 12 to 18 feet last year and put a strain on all snow re­moval re­sources.

The town of Al­ber­ton has a locked-in ten­der, and ad­min­is­tra­tor Su­san Wal­lace-Flynn said only a small fuel ad­just­ment in­crease was in­cluded this year.

“We were lucky,’’ said Wal­laceF­lynn. “We sure hope there is not as much snow as last win­ter.”

The Kings County cap­i­tal faces higher costs this year, but ad­min­is­tra­tor Tonya Cameron Perry said the town was lucky be­cause a new con­trac­tor low­balled a bid last year and the town ac­cepted it.

STEVE SHAR­RATT/THE GUARDIAN

Souris Mayor David MacDon­ald says a hand­ful of snow is go­ing to cost a lot more to move this year.

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