Is Edmonton getting the most for its snow-plowing buck?

Click to play video: 'Does Edmonton’s snow-clearing spending add up?' Does Edmonton’s snow-clearing spending add up?
WATCH ABOVE: Phil Darlington takes a look at how Edmonton's slow-plowing budget compares to other Canadian cities – Feb 13, 2019

Plowing costs and standards differ depending where you live, but one thing is the same: people love to say their winter roads are terrible.

So, how does Edmonton’s snow-clearing stack up against other cities in Canada? Here’s what we found out when we compared cross-country data from 2017.

READ MORE: Grading graders: How does Edmonton snow clearing compare to other Canadian cities?

Quebec City saw the most snow that winter, with upwards of 700 centimetres. The least fell — not surprisingly — in Vancouver: just over 43 cm. Edmonton came in at around 186 cm, which puts it somewhere in the middle of the pack.

The next thing we looked at is how many total lane kilometres each city clears.

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No. 1 in the country is Calgary, with 16,000 km. Edmonton is second with 11,800 km. At the bottom of the list is Victoria, with just 112 km.

So, what about the cost?

Edmonton spent almost $64 million on snow clearing in 2017; Montreal shelled out a whopping $200 million; and Victoria spent just $36,000.

When we break down the budgets by population, we see Edmonton taxpayers shelled out $45.12 per person, compared to the high of $78 in St. John’s and Calgary’s modest $25.59.

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When the plows get called out in each city, and how long it takes them to complete their work varies.

“We do send our plows out with the accumulation of two centimetres,” said Andrew Grant, Edmonton’s general supervisor of field operations.

“We will continuously plow our roadways throughout the storm to maintain mobility on all of our roadways, and as long as it takes after the storm quits to make sure our roadways are kept safe.”

READ MORE: Edmonton clarifies snow policy: how quickly must sidewalks be cleared?

The city has a policy of blading residential roads down to a five-centimetre snow pack, and clearing the main roads to pavement, though with the recent weather, they haven’t been keeping up.

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“With this cold weather, it creates these conditions to make virtually sheer ice out of snow. And our teams are actively plowing, sanding to create some traction in these conditions,” Grant said. He adds that once the weather eases up they will be tackling the roads once more.

READ MORE: Extreme winter conditions a challenge for City of Edmonton road crews

So what do you think? Is the city giving residents the best bang for their buck?

Graphics by Tonia Gloweski, Global News

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