Saskatoon municipal government details ‘extraordinary’ 2022 snow removal

Saskatoon streets during the snow event of 2022.

The City of Saskatoon is patting itself on the back for its snow removal job last year.

An email released from the city claimed they “successfully navigated an extraordinary emergency snow event in December 2022 with an equally extraordinary response.”

A report outlining last year’s response will be in front of city council on Tuesday.

The city claimed that after a 30-centimetre snowfall in December, the city had roads graded more quickly than their targeted timeline of 10 days and had the snow removed from the city within nine weeks.

The city statement said snow removal on priority two and three streets was completed within five weeks — the fastest this work has ever been completed.

“The successful handling of the significant snow events stands as a testament to the City’s commitment to meeting challenges head-on, learning from experiences and continuously improving its emergency response capabilities,” said Goran Saric, director of Roadways, Fleet and Support.

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“Our response to the late 2022 snowfall showcased our commitment to the safety and the well-being of our residents. The City of Saskatoon remains steadfast in its dedication to providing efficient services while adapting and improving to better serve its citizens.”

The city said that 102,000 truckloads of snow was removed from the city, storing 1.4 million cubic metres of snow between the city’s snow management facilities.

According to Global News’ calculations, that’s enough snow to fill 560 Olympic swimming pools.

The city said it’s four times the amount of snow stored than the years leading up to 2020.

The total cost of the snow removal was $18 million, which exceeded the budget set aside.

“Nearly 90 per cent of the cost was for the city-wide snow removal,” the statement read.

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Earlier in August this year, city administration provided council with options to pay off the debt.

A $5-million allocation from the 2024-25 major capital funding plan is to go toward the 2022 response and the remaining $13 million will be repaid in phase-ins of approximately $800,000 in 2024 and 2025.

Saskatoon’s chief financial officer Clae Hack expects it will take 10 years to repay the costs.

The city’s current snow removal budget is $14 million and the city has now put aside approximately $160,000 each year for future responses, aside from debt being repaid.

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