Quesnel got a bit of a break from mother nature in 2016 and as a result, for the first time in a while, there was a surplus in the snow removal budget.
Mayor Bob Simpson says it is somewhere in the range of 225 thousand dollars.
He says the plan is to take that money to attempt to create a snow reserve…
“Because the issue that we have with snow is that we never know in any given year what it’s going to cost us, its one of our greatest vulnerabilities. If nature is brutal over the winter season then we have to put out a lot of cost and it can be well over what we budget.”
Simpson says if nature is gentle then they end up saving money but unfortunately over the last 10 years it’s been more brutal than gentle.
He says the plan is to increase this year’s budget of 825 thousand dollars up to a million for 2017.
But he says there is a limit to what they will keep in reserve, probably 400 to 500 thousand dollars, which would give them a two year buffer.
While getting less snow was obviously a big help they also found some savings in operations, specifically having a snow dump on the west side.
That meant that trucks didn’t go all the way into town to dump the snow.
Simpson says there are no plans to cut service as he says they heard “loud and clear and continue to hear from residents they want us to spend the money to make sure our community is safe, that sidewalks are cleared in an expeditious fashion, that our main roads and secondary roads are sanded as quickly as we can get them done and that we continue to remove snow from the end of driveways, particularly with an aging population.”