A snow plow clears a parking lot in Whitehorse on Jan. 9. There is still snow on the ground from this past winter and the City of Whitehorse is already making plans to deal with next year’s snowfall. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Winter is coming, again, already: Whitehorse starts planning for next year’s snowfall

The price of sand is going up

There’s still snow on the ground from this past winter and the City of Whitehorse is already making plans to deal with next year’s snowfall.

“I’m sure you’re very happy to be considering next year’s winter already,” Coun. Rob Fendrick said as Richard Graham addressed council on April 30.

Graham, manager of operations for the City of Whitehorse, asked for a budget amendment for the supply of winter road maintenance supplies.

He said this is required for the purchase of winter road sand because its price has risen from $9.85 to $12.20 per tonne.

“Additionally, the quantity of 10-mm winter road sand must be increased to 18,000 (tonnes) as a result of the depletion of stock from the winter of 2017 to 2018,” according to the administrative report.

This added cost means the 2018 to 2020 operating budgets would need to be increased by $81,700 total.

Graham said the fluctuations in temperature last winter posed a challenge for city staff.

He said the amount of ice caused by freezing and thawing meant road crews went through 50 per cent more sand this year than in 2014.

“The winter that we just experienced, snow is relatively easy to deal with in terms of road maintenance. It’s the ice that really got us and residents and business owners and everybody this winter,” said Graham.

He said part of the freeze-thaw cycle meant the city experiences higher moisture levels, which can mean sand doesn’t stay on the roads. He also said that, in future, this kind of temperature cycle may mean the city needs to increase the salt content in the sand it uses, depending on time and temperature.

The snow clearing budget for 2018 was just over $3 million. This covers maintenance of just over 600 kilometres of roads within the City of Whitehorse.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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