Today, many communities are dealing with the after-effect of yesterday’s weather. We experienced freezing rain, rain, snow, as well as a dramatic drop in temperatures – from a high of +6˚C to -16˚C.

Our teams worked around the clock yesterday to clear catch basins and to clear roadways of pooling water. Snow removal continued in some areas which served the dual purpose of clearing the roadway to allow for better water flow, as well as increasing road width. We salted the roads and sidewalks to keep them safe for residents.

As you can appreciate, yesterday’s conditions were exceptional for any service.

Our teams were out clearing and salting continuously. Sidewalks create a unique challenge for clearing at the best of times, even without freezing rain.

In the winter, sidewalks have drainage issues. When snow is piled on both sides, the snow melts or rain collects on the sidewalk. It then lays there and as soon as the temperature drops, it freezes again. We clear the sidewalks with our machines multiple times, but they are not as heavy as a snow plow or grader meaning that even when they scrape the sidewalk, it will never be as clean as a roadway.

In residential areas, sidewalks and roads are cleared to a snow-packed, not bare, Maintenance Quality Standard (MQS). We apply grit or sand to residential sidewalks which acts as an abrasive and should allow residents to gain traction while walking.

Today our plan is as follows:

• Our teams will be out all day and again tonight.

• Sidewalk plows will be working to clear or level out sidewalks.

• In the downtown core, salt will be applied to ensure the busy sidewalks are passable.

• In residential areas sidewalk plows will be out and will be applying sand or grit. This process will be repeated throughout the day in an on-going effort to improve conditions

• Our plows will be working on residential streets today to clear out any ruts and to make roadways more passable.

• Clearing and salting/sanding will continue on all major roadways and arterials.

We know residents are frustrated. I am frustrated.

We are aware of the conditions and taking every measure to address the ice and buildup. These are exceptional conditions and appreciate your support as we continue our work.

We are doing all we can, with all possible resources, to prepare for the next weather event – an anticipated repeat of yesterday’s weather on Thursday and Friday.

Our operators have noted that one of their biggest challenges to completing their work today are the number of garbage and recycle bins on sidewalks. It makes it impossible for snow removal vehicles to pass. Please try to place your garbage and recycling bins at the end of the driveway on your side of the sidewalk to keep them away from plowing operations.