The head of Winnipeg’s public works committee says council will need to approve more funds for the city’s snow clearing budget to help clean up following this week’s spring snow storm.
Environment Canada says Winnipeg had received 25 cm of snow as of Thursday morning after a Colorado low brought heavy snow to much of southern Manitoba over the past two days.
On Thursday St. Boniface Coun. Matt Allard told Global News Morning the unexpected dump is stretching the city’s snow-clearing budget.
“It’s City of Winnipeg policy that snow gets cleared … that money is not a consideration,” said Allard, who chairs the city’s public works committee.
“Roadways need to be clear so that emergency vehicles can get through, so that people can get to their medical appointments.
“So we’re going to have to essentially find the money in order for this to be funded.”
The councillor said council will hold a special meeting to authorize the extra spending.
Allard couldn’t say exactly how much money the city would need to find to pay for the latest plowing efforts, but did say it would be in the millions of dollars.
“Yesterday at the finance committee we found that … there was $28 million spent in January and February and that’s on a $35 million snow clearing budget,” he said.
“This is an exceptional situation.”
City crews started a major city-wide snow clearing operation Wednesday.
Crews are first focusing on priority one regional streets or major routes and adjacent sidewalks and active transportation paths before moving onto priority two bus routes, collector streets and adjacent sidewalks and active transportation paths.
An extended snow route parking ban that started at midnight Thursday remains in effect.
“We’ve seen a lot of snow this year (and) this one came as a surprise but our public workers know what they’re doing and they’re getting back into gear to keep those roads and those sidewalks clear,” Allard said.
“If there’s one thing that Winnipeg public service knows what to do with, it’s snow.”
Environment Canada ended a winter storm warning for Winnipeg Thursday afternoon.
The province says preliminary data indicates 15 to 35 centimetres of snow fell in the south and the Interlake and Parklands regions, while some other areas received between 40 and 50 centimetres.
Another five to 15 centimetres of snow is expected in southern and central Manitoba by Friday afternoon.
— with files from The Canadian Press