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Parks department hard at work to keep pathways clear

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 12:18 pm

Two Airdrie residents enjoy an afternoon walk in Nose Creek Park on Jan. 20, part of 94 kilometres of pathway that City staff has been working to keep safe during recent freeze and thaw periods.
Two Airdrie residents enjoy an afternoon walk in Nose Creek Park on Jan. 20, part of 94 kilometres of pathway that City staff has been working to keep safe during recent freeze and thaw periods.
MATT DURNAN/Rocky View Publishing

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Airdrie residents have been treated to some unseasonably warm temperatures for the past week.

While the warm weather has helped melt away much of the record snowfall from December, the freeze and thaw cycle has created slippery conditions on pathways around the city.

The City’s Parks department has been working to keep the 94 kilometres of walking paths in the city cleared and safe for pedestrian use.

“Our pathways are a valuable recreational resource,” said Archie Lang, operations manager with the City’s parks department.

“They add mobility for our residents who walk or bike ride and we want to maintain that.”

At any given time, the parks department has up to eight Gator ATVs with sanders hooked up to them, clearing the paths and putting down sand and a de-icer.

Lang said most of the icing occurs from snow that has been cleared to the sides of the paths melting on to the path and freezing overnight.

“If needed, we will get a backhoe on the pathways and start to push the snow further back in order to allow for better drainage, we’ve had to do that already on the sides of some of our roads,” said Lang.

According to Lang, this freeze and thaw cycle is not uncommon to see in this region, though it has hit a bit earlier in the season than usual.

“This is something that we have to deal with every spring, with the snow melting off and freezing up on pathways,” said Lang.

“We’re in southern Alberta though, so we get the Chinooks and it’s something we have to deal with at many different times throughout the winter.”

Traditionally, March is when the city sees the heaviest volume of snowfall according to Lang, so he and the parks department are working five days a week and on weekends when needed in order to try to stay a step ahead of mother nature.

“March is when we generally see the most snow, so it’s important that we stay out in front of this and keep everything as clear as we can for the time being,” said Lang, who hinted that ultimately it comes down to some cooperation from the weather gods.

“What we ultimately want to see is the temperature to hold steady and stay warm over night, that’s when the water will start to find its way to drain back off the paths and you won’t see freezing.”

Airdrie’s Community Standards Bylaw states that home owners/occupants are responsible for removing all debris (snow, slush, ice) from any sidewalk adjoining the property owned or occupied by them within 24 hours of the time that it was formed, the fine associated is $350.


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