Saskatoon council approves snow removal plan for major blizzards
Saskatoon City Council approved a new winter road emergency response plan at Monday’s council meeting.
“When to pull the trigger on when to remove snow, that’s something that we had to go to special council meetings to get that done last time," Ward 4 Coun. Troy Davies told CTV News.
"Whereas now this will all be built in that if we do need to do a full city removal due to the amount of snow we received we do that right away."
Under the plan, extra staffing and contractor resources would be activated to restore mobility after a blizzard with an accumulated snowfall of at least 25 centimetres and reduced mobility to the point that light vehicles cannot travel on city streets.
Administration developed the plan after 30-40 centimetres of snow fell in November 2020, which required day and night city-wide snow grading and removal to restore mobility and safety in the city, according to a news release.
“We have a fine-tuned response plan for snowstorms that we scale up for the handful of times each year when more than five centimetres of snow accumulates,” Goran Saric, director of roadways, fleet and support, said in the release.
“And now, this plan is a more robust, multi-agency strategy for a future extreme event like we saw in November, allowing us to respond faster and more efficiently city-wide.”
The City’s previous extreme blizzard was in 2007 when 36 centimetres of snow fell in one day. Projections using 30 years of historical data for Saskatoon estimate this type of blizzard may occur again in 10 to 14 years.
As the frequency and severity of bad weather is predicted to increase with climate change, the frequency of future extreme snow events may be higher, for example once every seven years.