According to statistics from Environment Canada, last month was the snowiest February in Prince George since 1979. In total, the city received about 86.8 centimetres (nearly three feet) of snow and 66.9 centimeters (more than two feet) of that fell within a one week period between February 2 and February 9, according to the city.
And that means Mother Nature has eaten a hole in the city’s snow removal budget.
The city estimates that roughly $4.4 million, or 63 per cent of the $7 million snow budget for 2018 was spent from the beginning of the year to March 9. And, you guessed it, there is a heavy snowfall warning for tonight and Friday morning.
According to Environment Canada, a deep upper low pressure system off the B.C. Coast will cause a moist easterly flow to develop over the Central Interior later today and tonight. Total snowfall accumulations of 10 to 15 centimetres are expected before the snow eases Friday morning.
The effort to clear the city’s roughly 700 kilometres of roads and nearly 200 kilometres of sidewalks this winter was a joint effort of city crews and local contractors. Together, they mobilized 12 graders, eight plow trucks, 13 loaders, and 13 contracted dump trucks to clear city streets. City and contracted crews were working at full capacity 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 31 days straight. In fact, Priority One and Priority Two routes had to be plowed multiple times during the heaviest periods of snowfall.
Roughly 500 dump truck loads of snow per day were removed from the streets to clear windrows. In total, more than 13,000 truckloads equaling 261,100 cubic meters of snow were hauled to City snow disposal facilities during the month of February. That is enough snow to fill the CN Centre four times.
Watch a video about the City’s snow removal operations last month on the City’s YouTube channel.
In addition to road crews, staff with the city’s parks division provided snow clearing for the more than two dozen civic facilities, including the pools, arenas, libraries, and Canada Games Plaza. They also cleared approximately 20 kilometres of the city’s most popular trails, such as those in Ginter’s Meadow, Cottonwood Island Nature Park, and Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.
Road crews also worked collaboratively with bylaw services to ticket and/or remove vehicles that were impairing snow clearing operations. For example, during the month of February alone, more vehicles (72) were towed than during all of the previous winter.
The City’s parking restrictions are in effect from October 15 to April 15 each year to help with snow operations:
- On-street parking is prohibited from midnight to 7 a.m. downtown.
- On-street parking is prohibited from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Priority One roads and hills, the Hospital District, and a number of other designated roads.
- On-street parking is prohibited from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in residential areas. Parking on the side of the street with odd house numbers is permitted from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. unless otherwise posted.
- Illegally parked vehicles are subject to a $50 ticket per offence and/or may be towed.
- Plowing around parked vehicles can slow down operations and create hazards for other vehicles by creating windrows in the street.