Sidewalks covered snow in Kelowna. (Image: Billie Loiselle)

Snow blows budget: Kelowna spent nearly $1M on winter maintenance for December

The city expects to increase spending with snow in the Jan. forecast

The City of Kelowna spent close to $1 million on winter maintenance during the month of December.

Kelowna was buried in nearly 40 centimetres of snow over last month due to greater than average snowfall and an absence of warmer weather that would have melted the white stuff and prevented accumulation.

“Normal weather patterns would have melted some of the snow or provided some cleanup opportunities, however, the current systems have been far from normal,” said Tom Wilson with the City of Kelowna.

The city expects to be over budget on winter maintenance activities by approximately $400,000 for the 2021 fiscal year.

Roads conditions have been scrutinized by residents including Gerry Jobe who took to Twitter to complain that the road conditions in Kelowna were atrocious on Tuesday (Jan. 4).

Sidewalks have also been neglected by maintenance, says Billie Loiselle who posted on Kelowna Rant and Rave to notify walkers about impassable sidewalks in the South Pandosy corridor.

Loiselle reported the sidewalk issue to the city, however, due to recent heavy snowfall it has been difficult for maintenance to keep up with snow removal requests.

“There has not been a significant enough break in the weather patterns to allow for a full cleanup,” said Geert Bos, public works manager with the City of Kelowna.

Yet, the city plans to utilize the forecasted break in the weather to shift from maintenance to clean up after Wednesday’s forecasted snow event.

“The cleanup activities will start with overnight (Jan. 5) snow removal from the urban cores as soon as practicable and will continue into the hillside areas,” said Wilson.

This winter’s snowfall is out of the ordinary claimed Wilson.

Kelowna was expected to receive an additional 20 cm of snow Wednesday but Wilson says that “the teams are ready to dig out the city from this snow accumulations as soon as conditions allow.”

With the impending snowfall on the horizon, the city expects to further increase spending for winter maintenance.

“Public works will be reviewing past winter seasons’ data and will amend budget requests if required for future years of average winters based on data analyses,” said Wilson.

City of Kelowna