REGINA – Snow removal has been a rare sight this season thanks to the lack of precipitation, and it’s saving the city a lot of money.
“I would estimate we’re right now this year we’re probably right around a million again under budget,” director of roadways and transportation Norman Kyle said.
No significant snow in November and December last year resulted in the city saving about $1.2 million in the annual budget.
This was a welcome change for the city and taxpayers after snow removal went, on average, $1.8 million over budget between 2009 and 2014.
The dry season doesn’t mean snow removal crews aren’t busy though. The plows have been replaced with road maintenance work.
Kyle said the city is using the current conditions to get a jump on other projects, like patching potholes and repairing manholes and catch basins.
He explained that crews have been using a cold mix asphalt to temporarily patch potholes. This acts like a “band-aid” , and prevents the hole from getting bigger.
Once it’s warm enough to use regular asphalt, the potholes will receive a more permanent fix.
However, with the current weather conditions Kyle is predicting Regina won’t have many potholes this year anyway.
“We aren’t see the same freeze-thaw cycle that we did last spring so we’re not seeing as many potholes either, and by getting to them sooner it helps them from getting bigger,” he explained.
The snow removal savings will go toward reserve funds, but Mayor Michael Fougere doesn’t want to get too complacent.
“That goes back into the reserve for the very purpose on if we have an unexpected storm, we have the reserves that can handle that,” he said.
“While we don’t have a lot of ice and snow on the streets today, that can change at any time.”
According to Global News weather specialist Tiffany Lizée Regina’s seen 38 per cent of the seasonal moisture, but should expect more soon.
“Current models are saying near normal precipitation for the weeks to come, which could mean an extra 20 cm of snow for the Queen City by the end of March,” Lizée said.
The final tally of snow removal spending won’t be known until the end of 2016.