Snow removal a big concern

Anyone who has paid attention to letters to the editor and Internet comments published by the Red Deer Advocate in recent days knows what the latest controversy in this community is all about: snow removal.

Anyone who has paid attention to letters to the editor and Internet comments published by the Red Deer Advocate in recent days knows what the latest controversy in this community is all about: snow removal.

City residents are clearly angry at what they perceive as a failure on the part of civic officials to deal with winter precipitation.

To be fair, no one is blaming the people who operate City of Red Deer road graders and dump trucks, but the electorate is obviously disappointed in the people who set the budget for snow removal: city council.

There have been relatively few complaints about the condition of major roads. It’s the state of residential streets that has a lot of people angry in this community.

To cite just one example, this writer notes that people on his street had taken to using the back alley since, until a recent snowfall improved conditions, Ireland Crescent was so slippery and rutted that it was unsafe to use.

Unfortunately, a couple of vehicles on the street have obviously been sideswiped in recent days and one can’t help but conclude that these collisions happened because the street was improperly maintained.

One car probably only has about $2,000 worth of damage, but the other one is really badly smashed (these cars were likely not involved in the same collision as they both park on the same side of the street and are both damaged on the driver’s side).

One wonders if the owners of the vehicles that were sideswiped were tempted to contact a lawyer and attempt to hold the City of Red Deer financially accountable.

Perhaps it would work, if they were to present their case in the court of public opinion in Red Deer.

People who appear to be most upset at the failure of the City of Red Deer to properly maintain residential streets during winter are the people who have previously lived in other communities — it would seem virtually any other community — where snow removal is better.

People who have lived in Red Deer for the past 30 or 40 years may not realize that snow removal is handled much better in some other cities, both bigger and smaller.

If one considers that the average homeowner likely pays at least $2,000 a year in properly taxes (admittedly about half of that goes for education), is there any reason that our residential streets can’t be plowed more often?

Yes, there is — it’s a matter of priorities. City council has decided it makes more sense to spend at least $118 million on the civic yards project and countless millions on doubling its workforce in the last decade or so than it does to remove snow properly.

If you are unhappy with the City of Red Deer’s snow removal efforts, consider yourself invited to write a letter to the editor. If you are delighted with the City of Red Deer’s snow removal efforts, also consider yourself invited to write a letter.

Either way, it would probably be a good idea if you were to send a copy of your letter to the City of Red Deer.

Local snow removal efforts are unlikely to improve unless city councillors receive a flood of complaints.

After all, we all know that there likely won’t be any snow on the ground when this fall’s civic election rolls around.

Lee Giles is an Advocate editor.