The ice-covered roads have been a topic of conversation and a reason for frustration for drivers throughout the city.
Mayor Bill Given shared his thoughts on the topic after Monday’s City Council meeting.
“The roads have been slippery over the last little while, but I know that in a space of less than a week, the city put out approximately 50 tonnes of grit and sand material,” says Given. “The extreme cold has also played a significant role at affecting the city’s response.”
Given says he acknowledges that there is some public perception that not enough is being done to maintain the city’s streets. He notes crews are working on sanding roadways and removing ruts formed from ice.
“I would say that we received about a similar level of public input and concern that we do just about every season. There are obviously times where the perception of the community is that the city could or should be doing more, and by all means, we try to meet community expectations wherever we can.”
Given notes the city has what it needs to keep the streets clear, but extremely cold temperatures cause disruptions in road clearing services.
“There is not a want of resources. As discussed tonight, the city has a reserve, and so if we need additional funds, we have money available to do that. We actually have a significant portion of our program that’s done by private contractors, so it’s not a fact that the city doesn’t have enough staff or equipment because we call in staff and equipment from the private sector on a regular basis. It really is a matter of the environment and how cold temperatures have been. I also think that unless we see a grader in front of our house or we see a sanding truck in front of our vehicle, we may have a perception that they’re not out there on the roads, when in fact they are.”
During the council meeting, one of the topics discussed was the Reserve Fund Policy which has seen changes. Council has collapsed its 14 reserves into one reserve policy in order to streamline internal processes. The changes made have not changed the reserve balances, but have been collapsed in such a way that the reserves maintain flexibility for what their original purposes were.
Another topic of conversation was Council endorsing the Community Opioid Response Plan. Council also voted in favour of going ahead with an Alberta Community Partnership Grant Application in support of working together with other municipalities to address opioids and get their support for the city’s application.
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