Mother Nature may have given us a late winter last year, but she has different plans this year with snow already hitting the ground in the Okanagan Valley.
According to the City of Kelowna, snow removal and sanding trucks are prepared and ready to go for the winter season.
It says while the snow will likely disappear again before it sticks around for good, it serves as a reminder that residents can help snow removal efforts throughout the city this winter by moving vehicles off the roads before significant snow falls.
“Our crews start their shifts early and have a lot of ground to cover,” said Stephen Bryans, roadway operations supervisor. “That’s why it’s important for vehicles to be moved off of the streets to allow for our crews to clear roads safely, efficiently and quickly.”
Related story: City warns residents of snowfall
Kelowna owns 21 snow removal trucks and three graders, along with five sidewalk plows, and is responsible for clearing snow and de-icing municipal roads (excluding Highways 33 and 97) based on their priority status.
Priority one roads include high-traffic arteries such as Gordon Drive. Priority two roads include collector roads such as Richter Street, bus routes, school zones, town centers and emergency vehicle stations. Priority three roads include local roads in neighbourhoods.
“Based on our priority system, it’s important for residents to understand that priority three roads will not be cleared until service levels of priority one and two (roads) have been achieved,” said Bryans. “If another snowfall happens before the completion of priority two or three roads, we’ll return to priority ones.”
Some areas can be particularly challenging for snow removal which is why four designated snow routes have been identified in the Kelowna neighbourhoods of Wilden, Dilworth Mountain, The Ponds and Magic Estates.
These areas are more difficult to maneuver due to their elevation, road grade (slope), roadway width and a higher number of cul-de-sacs. During a significant snow event, a snow event advisory will be issued and there will be a temporary parking ban on the snow route roads.
At this time, there is no snow event advisory in effect.
While it’s the city’s responsibility to keep the roads clear, residents and businesses are also responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks and driveways adjacent to their properties. The city encourages residents to help their neighbours by becoming a Snow Buster.
Being a Snow Buster is as simple as lending a hand by shoveling a neighbours walk. Residents can thank their Snow Buster by nominating them to win Kelowna Rockets tickets. To submit a nomination, visit the City’s transportation webpage, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to City of Kelowna Snow Busters program, 1435 Water Street, Kelowna BC, v1Y 1J4.
For more information about snow removal or to nominate a Snow Buster, visit kelowna.ca/transportation.