Operator Damien Smith and Mayor Laura Cabott are seen at the city’s Robert Service Way snow dump at a press conference on Feb. 1. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Operator Damien Smith and Mayor Laura Cabott are seen at the city’s Robert Service Way snow dump at a press conference on Feb. 1. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Snow, snow everywhere: Whitehorse ramping up removal efforts

City provides update on snow removal efforts

City of Whitehorse crews are continuing to plow and move snow off of roadways as it looks at improving snow removal in the future.

During a Feb. 1 press conference at the Robert Service Way snow dump, officials pointed out this marks the second consecutive winter crews have been hauling record levels of snow.

Mayor Laura Cabott recognized the concerns the city has received from residents, acknowledging that “clearly we haven’t been able to stay on top of the amount” of snow that has fallen in the city, despite crews working seven days a week and many working overtime hours.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to get on top of this very soon and that we will be able to stay ahead of it,” Cabott said. “I get it there are some people living in neighborhoods that have not had one clearing yet this year.”

While crews continue to work on removing snow from streets and hauling it to the city’s 11 snow dumps, Cabott also highlighted the proposed 2022 operating budget that would add an additional $240,000 to the $4.5 million amount the city typically budgets for winter road maintenance, with plans for new hires as well as new equipment.

She noted that the city’s growth in recent years has meant more roadways to be maintained along with demands for active transportation routes.

“As those demands have increased, I think, you know, it’s time for the city to step up and add a little bit more to our resources,” Cabott said. She suggested that the record snowfall of the past two years could become more commonplace in future winter seasons.

Along with hiring more staffers for the city crews, city officials noted plans to work with private contractors on snow removal.

At the same time the city highlighted its challenges in dealing with snow, city spokesperson Myles Dolphin also stressed the importance of obstacles being taken off roadways ahead of plowing and not shovelling snow onto roads.

“When people don’t move their vehicles, for example, if the graders have to work around a car that’s parked or not moved, it adds another roughly 30 minutes to work around it so they’re not running into it or anything like that,” Tracy Allen, the city’s director of operations, said. “The longer they take navigating their way through a maze of cars, that’s one less road they get through at night or during the day.”

For some people who are wondering what to do with an overflow of snow on their property, Allen noted residents are welcome to haul excess snow from their yard or driveway to the Robert Service Way snow dump.

Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that snow can be deposited at any of the city’s dumps. Snow can only be dropped at the Robert Service Way dump.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com