Can we do better?

How would you like to see Chilliwack snow removal strategy change next year?

Last week’s blast of winter weather brought an icy start to the new year, and a reminder that we might need to do more to be prepared.

Winter storms are thankfully rare in these parts. But when they do hit, they hit with a vengeance. Our location between the warm, wet air from the Pacific, and the cold air flowing from the interior, can quickly turn an inconvenient rain into a crippling snowstorm.

Many thought last winter – with its snow and freezing rain in February – was an anomaly.

This week, with all of January and February still to look forward to, they might think again.

The snow and ice has brought the usual complaints about snow removal – this despite changes made by the City in response to last winter.

Indeed, some roads have been a challenge. But most main roads are in remarkable shape.

Sidewalks are another issue. But given the combination of snow, freezing rain, more snow and more freezing rain, that’s not surprising. The plastic shovels sold in most hardware stores are no match for that frosty mix.

Still, residents are right to ask if more can be done. This year is an election year and it is an opportunity to ask candidates if they feel more money and more resources should be directed toward snow and ice removal. There should be an honest discussion about what that would look like: what services would be cut, or how much additional money would have to be raised. But it is a conversation worth having.

For some, nothing will be good enough. For others, there’s a middle ground worth finding between spending tax dollars unnecessarily, and being held hostage by an increasingly hostile winter.

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