Saskatoon snow storm cleanup turns into campaign issue for mayoral candidates
SASKATOON -- Snow removal dominated conversations for mayoral candidates who held their final media conferences on Thursday.
In an unprecedented move, the election was postponed to Friday due to the snow storm that slammed the city with upwards of 30 centimetres of snow on Sunday.
With just hours away from the vote, some residents are still snowed in.
Charlie Clark said he’s hopeful residential streets will be cleared so people can hit the polls.
“My hope is that within the next day or two there will be the ability to get out of neighbourhoods,” Clark said.
The incumbent applauded crews for their work.
He said the storm is an example of why it’s important to have a strong operating budget and why reducing the property tax increase too low could put the city at risk during these emergency situations.
But Don Atchison was less enthused with the cleanup. He said residential streets should already be cleared.
“It’s a lack of leadership once again. This should have all been dealt with because in November, you do have snow storms,” Atchison said.
Atchison shared frustrations about some bike lanes being cleared before streets — something Clark said is due to having different contractors for the bike lanes.
“It’s the nature of the contracts,” Clark said.
Meanwhile during questions at Rob Norris’ final address to the media, Norris thanked city crews but said Clark could have handled the snow storm cleanup with more leadership
“When it came to preparedness, project management, planning, coordination and communication. There was leadership that was lacking from the top,” Norris said.
The candidate said he’d be willing to drive anyone snowed-in to the polls.
There are seven polls open on Friday — down from 65 polls on the original election Monday.
“It’s insufficient,” Norris told reporters, calling for a poll in every city ward.
Polls open Friday until 8 p.m.