February 10, 2015 1:36 pm
Updated: February 10, 2015 6:06 pm

Winnipeg’s snow clearing operation under review

Winnipeg's public works department has been asked to review its snow-clearing services.

Eric Szeto / Global News
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WINNIPEG — Winnipeg city councillors are wondering if the city is getting enough bang for its buck when it comes to snow clearing.

Councillors Ross Eadie and Brian Mayes have asked the city public works department to conduct a review of its $27-million snow clearing operations.

The majority of snow clearing is done by ten private contractors, with 20 per cent done by city staff.

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“We can always strive to do better,” said Councillor Janice Lukes, Chair of the Public Works Committee, “and there’s always going to be little pockets of the city that we can do better in.”

On Tuesday The Public Works Committee asked the Public Works Department to examine the quality of work being done, the number of snow clearing complaints and the costs of using private contractors compared to city workers.

CUPE 500, Canadian Union of Public Employees, President Mike Davidson doesn’t think the city is getting enough bang for its buck.

“When you have 80 per cent of your service being provided by contractors, in our point of view, is that a loss of public control?” said Davidson.

Public works director Brad Sacher said fines are handed out if contractors don’t do a good job but couldn’t say how many have been given out.

“I believe we have a very good service,” said Sacher. “These people dedicate their lives to this.”

The cost of buying 400 pieces of equipment and storing them would be far greater than contracting the work out, Sacher said.

A review of the service will come back to council in June.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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