The City of Yorkton is hoping a new web-based snow complaint system and having a live person answer its existing snow complaint hotline will help the City be more responsive to residents’ concerns.
December 20, Mayor Bob Maloney and Brian Stanicki, public works roadway manager, launched the new initiative at a press conference to raise public awareness of the process and to draw attention to the City’s Snow and Ice Control and Removal Policy.
Maloney said many people, including himself, were dissatisfied that when they called the hotline they got an answering machine. Now the phones will be manned, but he said the staff will not put up with abuse.
“They’re not punching bags,” he said. “Make your complaint respectfully, they will take it down and we will deal with it.”
There are certain complaints that will not be dealt with, however. Per City policy, “Windrows left in private driveways shorter than three hundred millimetres (twelve inches) at the lowest point after the grader has passed will be the responsibility of the home owner regardless of the homeowner’s [sic] age, gender or physical condition.”
The mayor said they have to draw the line somewhere.
“It’s a costly service,” he said. “People think ‘oh, it’s nice that the City does that,’ but it’s a huge expense that comes out of the tax pie. We can’t be running back to do the ends of every driveway.”
Other aspects of the bylaw officials want to call attention to are the priorities and standards in terms of accumulation and timelines.
First priority are the highways, arterial thoroughfares and emergency routes. Second are the secondary routes and finally, residential streets. Back lanes are only plowed if they are the primary access to the property and in order of priority lanes then residential.
The accumulation standards for the various routes are two inches (priority and secondary), four inches (residential) and six inches (back lanes).
Timelines (from the abatement of a storm event) are 36 hours (priority), 72 hours (secondary) and 108 hours (residential).
The full bylaw with appended map of the priority routes is available at the city’s website www.yorkton.ca.
It is a good idea to be familiar with the bylaw before submitting a complaint to 306.782.7669 or www.yorkton,ca/snow.