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St. John’s mayor says snow clearing after blizzard could cost city extra $5M

Workers removing snow from the streets in St. John's on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
Workers removing snow from the streets in St. John's on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The mayor of St. John’s, N.L., says the cleanup after last month’s fierce blizzard could cause the city to blow its snow-clearing budget by several million dollars.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital was under a weeklong state of emergency after the record-breaking Jan. 17 blizzard that brought more than 76 centimetres of snow in one day.

READ MORE: Historic N.L. blizzard highlights need for severe weather preparedness: scientists

Mayor Danny Breen says the city estimates its 2020 snow-clearing budget could be exceeded by up to $5 million dollars over the budgeted $17.5 million.

The estimate accounts for staff overtime, contracted snow removal, vehicle fleet expenses and fuel.

Breen says the approximate figure depends on weather for the rest of the season and how much disaster relief funding the city may receive from the federal government.

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READ MORE: Eastern Newfoundland digs out from record-breaking snowstorm

The mayor says staff are looking at tapping into reserve snow-clearing funding of $2 million or reducing spending in other areas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2020.