Chilliwack is ready for the arrival of winter.
If the snow started falling this week, the city plows, the salt, and the sanders, would be ready to roll, according to staff in the Operations department.
The past two winters have seen more significant snowfall than Chilliwack is used to, and that has had the effect of allowing staff to plan and become even better prepared.
The annual prep work for winter by City of Chilliwack staff actually starts in the summer, as they undertake a thorough review of snow and ice control service levels, and updating the service level priorities of various roads.
The result this year? About 13 roads were upgraded to a higher snow-clearing priority for the coming winter. Last year saw changes in priority upgrading of 17 roads from priority 4 to priority 3.
The snow and ice control review is a process they go through every year, taking into account Chilliwack growth and development.
In the equipment shop, city staff have been busy preparing and maintaining the equipment for the winter season. The sanders have been fully serviced and tested, and tanks on the brine spreading-gear have also been put through their paces.
The snow and sand storage sheds are full and ready to go.
Winter chains for all the trucks have been reconditioned and readied. They even check the snow plow blades to make sure they’re sharp and well-maintained.
For the past two challenging winters, the city has invested in upgrading its medium-sized trucks with plow and sanding equipment so they can access and turn easily in tight cul-de-sac situations that the larger trucks cannot manage.
Promontory residents may notice an electronic message board advising motorists to use winter tires.
The flashing message board will be set up at the base of both hills leading to Promontory, said city officials, advising that winter driving conditions could occur on the hillsides, and that winter tires, with the snowflake are recommended.
The weather forecasters are calling for a winter that is somewhat similar to last year’s with a few arctic outflow events, but not anticipating any prolonged winter storms at this point.
In 2016, the city spent $1.4 million for snow and ice removal, with most of it spent in December. The 2017 snow removal budget was put at just over $1 million, a figure being stressed by late December. Tackling snowstorms in early 2017 cost an estimated $85,000 a day in materials, snow removal equipment and labour.