While the cold season is hopefully still a few more months away, Airdrie city council is already embarking on a series of developments to its Snow and Ice Control Policy, in a concerted effort to enhance their winter road maintenance practices.
After a thorough review of the policy by city administration, council adopted a motion at their last meeting on Aug. 21, instructing staff to include anti-icing measures in the 2024 budget and make any necessary changes to the Snow and Ice guidelines.
The primary aim of these measures, according to the City’s report, is to apply anti-icing treatments to arterial and collector roads during snow events with an accumulation of 10 centimetres or more.
Council’s decision stems from concerns voiced during a previous meeting that highlighted the necessity to revamp the City’s snow and ice removal policies as Airdrie’s population approaches 90,000 people, necessitating more efficient strategies to tackle winter’s challenges.
Within the context of exploring different de-icing options, discussions about the feasibility of using beet juice mixed with other substances as a potential alternative emerged.
Mike Avramenko, a representative of the City's road maintenance team, highlighted the complexities in countering the capricious nature of Airdrie’s winter conditions.
"You can have the most intricate snow removal process and pay for that but not everyone is going to be happy,” he said. “I look forward to coming back with some additional information."
Coun. Heather Spearman catalyzed further developments by presenting a motion to administration that aimed at scrutinizing alternatives to the prevailing snow and ice control policy. The policy delineates the municipality's protocol for responding to snow accumulation on the city's roads following snowfalls.
Spearman articulated the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the financial implications of potential changes.
"I would like to see more price potentials and what that cost impact would be because it didn't really touch much on that in the package,” she said. “For 2024, this is great. Thumbs up – it's an advancement and we can go back to the community with something."
In response to council's request for additional information on the potential costs and ramifications of modifying service levels, staff have been tasked with furnishing a comprehensive report. This report will encompass various aspects, including costs associated with snow clearing and the removal of windrows in residential communities.
As the conversations continue, the main goal is still to enhance Airdrie's winter maintenance endeavours.
In response to the presented motion, Coun. Ron Chapman emphasized the importance of safe driving within the community, which was echoed by Mayor Peter Brown.
“I’ll be honest with you, I wouldn’t support this [motion] because I’m of the same vein you are but if we don’t investigate and don’t provide the options, at least we can say to the community ‘We looked at it and we decided not to do it’,” Brown said.