Just hours after the snow route parking ban was lifted, two Calgary councillors say they’ve fielded a lot of calls from frustrated drivers. But they both say revamping the plan could require Calgarians to be more generous with their wallets.
Ward 5 Councillor Ray Jones told News Talk 770’s Rob Breakenridge he’s received too many calls from Calgarians who are saying there’s not enough gravel on the roads and questioning the efficiency of the parking ban.
Jones said the city has bumped up its budget for snow and ice removal by about $10 million in the last four years, now sitting at $38.3 million. But he questions how that money should be allocated.
“I know that our workers are out there and every piece of equipment is on the street. I mean, it’s not as though they’re holding anything back … I’m just wondering if it’s not enough.”
Jones said he would raise the issue at the next council meeting on Monday.
The councillor said he noticed some major routes on Wednesday that had no gravel on them.
“And these were major roads, they weren’t back roads,” he said.
Ward 1 Councillor Ward Sutherland said Wednesday he doesn’t believe Calgarians will want to put up the extra cash for faster snow removal.
“I don’t think people have, with this economic time, the appetite to add two per cent to their property tax to have better snow removal,” he told Global News.
Watch below from Feb. 7: Calgary’s snow route parking ban is the first in more than three years and officials say so far so good. Tony Tighe reports.
Jones agrees, saying other cities have a lot more money to work with.
“People say in Montreal, you know, they get rid of all their snow. Well, Montreal has a budget of about $100 million,” he said. “And I’m sure people don’t want us to increase their taxes again … and that’s where we get the money from.”
Sutherland added this is the first time a snow route ban has been called in three years.
“It’s a heavy investment on equipment and it might sit there and not be used,” he said.
The city has added more equipment to its arsenal; it now has 79 tandem trucks, 27 graders, nine snow-blowers and 10 front-end loaders.
“Have some patience. We’re going to be in the pluses; things are going to melt,” Sutherland said. “This is Calgary. We’re different from other cities.”
With files from Global’s Gary Bobrovitz