Crews have been working hard to remove the snow drifts from almost every street in Sidney.
Mike van der Linden, manager of engineering and environmental services, says the Town of Sidney has committed its entire public works and parks staff to the snow clearing effort. Two salting trucks, three snow plows, two backhoes and two snow blowers have been committed to the effort. Additionally, Sidney has hired two dump trucks and one excavator.
van der Linden says the Town is worried about flooding and drainage systems being overwhelmed, as well as the potential for black ice to form. To mitigate the effects of the snow, he says that roadway catch-basins will be located and cleared to accept the melted snow. As soon as black ice is identified, he says the Town will salt or sand those dangerous areas.
Some residents are upset about council’s decision to dump the huge quantities of snow in Tulista Park. This is because the snow is being deposited right in front of the boat ramp, blocking access to it.
A huge wall of ice and snow, more than 10 feet high as of Friday morning, blocks the ramp, preventing boat owners and, potentially rescue craft, from launching from it.
Crews say the snow has been dumped there as it is out of the way of roads and residential areas and, once the temperature rises, will melt and run off into the sea.
Local resident Colin Plint is unhappy and says there could be an economic impact. “We live on the water. The waterways are our road systems,” he says.
“A lot of gravel and cement travels on barges to the islands – they are now all cut off. There are better places to dump the snow.”
In response to residents’ concerns, van der Linden said, “the town is concerned about closing the boat launch, but we are more concerned about our roads being blocked by snow and hampering access of emergency services and buses.”
He adds Sidney is experiencing an unusual snow event and the engineering department has now hired a large excavator to clear some of the snow away from the ramp so that it can be reopened and available for use.
It is likely to be reopened sometime later today, Feb.15.