Snow removal system senseless, wasteful

I am writing to you in regards to the front page article of the Feb. 13 Advocate: Windrows spark anger.

I am writing to you in regards to the front page article of the Feb. 13 Advocate: Windrows spark anger.

I was more than a little stunned at Public Works manager Greg Sikora’s advice to senior citizens when he said: “People who need help with clearing their driveways can turn to their neighbours, families, community groups, churches and agencies such as the Golden Circle,” and for those who can afford it to contact city contractors.

I was astonished because even though the advice he provided was multi-faceted, it’s quite possible all options would not be available or feasible to everyone, especially in senior living sections of the city.

I’m also writing regarding the letter to the editor in the Comment section of the Advocate, dated Feb. 20, titled City snow removal program just more waste, bad planning. The letter was well written and pointed out the dismal failure of city council’s new snow removal policies. Specifically, the very expensive signage, fridge magnets, brochures. The new zone signs are a bit of joke when the city is still using the old signs from previous years — placed right underneath!

On a personal note: The schedule for grading in Eastview Estates was posted for Feb. 18. We received an email update sent out postponing this to Feb. 19. However, this didn’t occur … perhaps because it was a beautiful day with lots of melting or maybe the graders were looking for streets that actually had 10 cm of accumulated snow?

I cannot emphasize enough how bad the city’s timing was when the graders showed up this morning, Feb. 20 at 11 a.m. My husband had a physio appointment at 12:15 p.m., thus requiring him to remove the 15-inch windrow in front of our driveway. It was sickening to watch a bobcat go by him with an empty bucket!

The reason why we received so much is because our neighbour, who is an elderly widow, shovels snow from the sidewalks onto the street that has been packed down over previous months. Am I going to report this to the RCMP?

Absolutely not! It would fall into the category of pettiness. Besides, our Mounties have a difficult job to do and need to deal with problems that are much more urgent.

In comparison, there are eight councillors and one mayor sitting around on their collective behinds thinking of ways to waste money. So much for serving in the best interests of Red Deer citizens.

At the same time, since we live at the junction of an three-way intersection, my husband clears the immediate area out front to the other side of the street to a green area whenever there is a heavy snowfall. Thus, each time grading occurs, the snow from up the street ends up in front of us, where there is very little accumulation. Like the old saying goes: “No good deed goes unpunished!”

We moved to Red Deer from Calgary three years ago after retiring. Naturally, since taxes never go down, we are paying more. But for what, I must ask. The new ‘upgraded’ snow removal program is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money, along with being extremely ineffectual during a relatively mild winter. Thank goodness this new upgrade wasn’t in place last year during the monster winter — I cannot imagine that nightmare!

Today was the second grading event this season and the total accumulation of snow this season certainly does not require three graders accompanied by three bobcats — with empty buckets! — going up and down the streets.

Marilyn Matthew

Red Deer