Is Delta Council burying their head in the snow when it comes to Snowmageddon response?
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and her Council recently had a chance to review a report from their staff which states (quelle surprise) that staff did a great job when it came to its response to Snowmageddon last winter. Yes, despite sidewalks not being cleared, residents becoming homebound, roads snowed under for weeks, staff have reviewed their own performance and given themselves top marks.
Despite warnings of global climate change and local meteorologists stating the Vancouver region is moving into a "cool phase" over the next 10 years or so, there appears to be no concern at Delta Council over the impacts this colder weather could have on its citizens.
The Snowmageddon report was written by Hugh Fraser, Acting Director of Engineering. His main recommendation was to buy three more front-mounted snowploughs. That would result in Delta owning a grand total of 12 ploughs once all is said and done. Okay, everyone from Montreal can stop laughing now.
Here is an excerpt from the report:
It would be unrealistic to make significant changes to a snow and ice control policy that provides appropriate responses to normal west coast winters.
I'm not really sure which "normal west coast winter" he's referring to, but I've lived here for over 20 years and have yet to find a winter where local cities are prepared for even a skiff of snow. Yes, it does snow here every year despite some local folks fantasizing about living in Canada's equivalent of California.
It's worth noting the report does reference staff holidays over the Christmas period and the impact that could have if a major snow storm occurs during this period. You only need to look at what happened in Vancouver to understand the cause for concern. While Snowmageddon raged, there were nine dark days of silence from the City of Vancouver's communications department.
In the end, it was Tom Timm, Vancouver's top-notch General Manager of Engineering who was sent out on the plank to take the hit.
Thankfully, it appears Delta council will likely amend staff vacation policy to ensure that all snow removal crews aren't vacationing in Hawaii while the rest of us are shoveling out our drive after the Christmas turkey.
As many of our readers know, the response to Snowmageddon in Vancouver was well-documented on this blog over the course of several weeks. It wasn't pretty. Unfortunately, it now appears that Delta also seems to have its collective head buried in the snow
Over the years, cities have decided to delve into a number of policy areas. They have hired mental health advocates, provided tens of millions of dollars to solve homelessness, debated space treaties and backyard chickens to name but a few.
But there are certain core services that citizens expect when they pay their property taxes every year. Having safe, snow-free roads and sidewalks is one of them. Let's hope all Metro Vancouver cities understand that before next winter arrives.