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Vancouver almost back to normal after several weather-related challenges

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

City catching up on missed garbage, recycling collections

Vancouver used 10 times more salt than normal

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver is slowly getting back to normal after an unusually high amount of snow blanketed the city over the last few weeks, causing slippery roads and sidewalks and garbage pickup delays.

Engineering services manager Jerry Dobrovolny says the number of snow complaint calls has steadily decreased since Friday.

“Those requests were running 200 to 300 a day (last week), went down to 100 a day. Over the weekend they were between 25 and 50 where they sit now,” he says.

Garbage collectors are catching up with their backlog, Dobrovolny says, however, several areas may still not get back to regular pickups until their back alleys are cleared of snow and ice.

“We did not attempt to put trucks through those narrow back alleys if it wasn’t safe to do so. There would be a risk to both property and people if we had done that,” he says.

Smithrite Disposal Ltd, is responsible for all the recycling pickup, and Dobrovolny says they have had more trouble navigating the snow-clogged backroads.

Vancouver has already used 10,000 tonnes of salt, well above the usual 1,000 tonnes, and Dobrovolny says supplies are still good but did not specify whether the city has asked other Metro Vancouver municipalities for salt.

“I’m not aware of salt flowing from one municipality to another,” he says.

Despite the city’s work, residents continue to complain about unsalted and snowy sidewalks and park pathways. Dobrovolny admits there is work to be done in parks and says the city is working with the Vancouver Park Board to prioritize paths that don’t have alternatives nearby.

“If there’s a sidewalk next to a park, but there’s also a sidewalk on the other side of the street, that might be a second priority for us to get to,” he says.

Despite the number of complaints about the city’s snow clearing efforts, Dobrovolny feels confident the city is prepared to deal with much larger disasters such as an earthquake. He says the city plans to continue clearing streets and sidewalks and will scale its cleaning efforts to meet the needs of the city.