July 24th, 2024

New City snow removal route policy doesn’t work

By Lethbridge Herald on February 9, 2024.


The City runs cutely named trifectas of snowplows to push snow/slush/ice into windrows (piles) along road curbs. They even provide foot-by-foot, turn-by-turn, online tracking of their movements.

Quite the show, this really entertains seniors watching their impending approach.

Then their passing inflicts blocked-off drives on these residences. Generously created on their tax dollar. 

Upon reactivation, on-street parking often spreads the curbside windrows onto cleared sidewalks. 

Participaction opportunity, shovel them again. About when those windrows aren’t under -30C conditions fresh and loose, but rather a packed snow/slush/ice blockage two feet plus high across drives. 

Can such blockades, if left to settle and freeze, be reasonably be removed by hand if you aren’t into weightlifting? More get fit motivation.

Where will these compacted windrows blocking drives go, given a resident is able to move it? 

The brain trust that promoted this must be thinking ever-compliant residents will chip-and-shovel that windrow into a wheelbarrow, move it over their must-be-shovelled sidewalk, onto their front yard on top of the snow already piled high there. Citizen of the year stuff.

Does council care if seniors and other physically limited residents are unable to move the windrow blockades without risking injury, or heart/stroke outcomes? 

Are those snow route residents to incur the cost of private snow removal contractors to get drive egress/access? A not so hidden tax.

But hey, those folks have options. They can move. 

If they are lucky, their jacked-up 4×4 with oversized mag wheels can plough over and through. Or plan A, pre-load the pantry/freezer, cancel/rebook appointments, hunker down, opt for home deliveries, pray you have no emergency, and wait for a big chinook. 

That would be the same chinook that appears to be the City’s plan A. Blowing hot air to absolve them of snow removal responsibility.

As curbside windrows mount, they compact and freeze in roadside gutters that take melt water to roadside drains. 

Might there be drainage problems? Remember, previously mid-road windrows weren’t packed in gutters and were trucked away. 

I hope your residence isn’t contending with icy sidewalks from windrow melt or blocked drain flooding. 

Bonus, it’s your obligation to keep those gutters and drains clear even as City snow route policy repeatedly loads them up with a half road’s worth of snow, slush and ice.

The City’s public response to complaints appears to be – that’s been decided – you should continuously monitor us. You had your chance to oppose, live with it. Classic case study material. 

The upside is business development –  private snow removal services, AMA towing, and auto repair shops get an unexpected boost. 

I suggest council members and bureaucrats promoting this program be required to go to impacted residential areas each heavy snow event post “route clearing” – to shovel several blocked driveways (seniors or impaired get priority). 

With nowhere left to reasonably pile it, I bet they put windrow snow/slush/icepack back on the road if they can move it at all. 

Perhaps hands-on experience with their policy impacts along with some sweat might generate a serious rethink –  a return to mid-road windrows and removal of same when buildup justifies.

That would be the prior policy that showed consideration for snow route residents and was poised to deal with unacceptable snow buildups the present policy fails to address. 

Barry Harper


Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

very well summed up and stated. too bad the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” is not at all reflected relative to what the city returns on our juicy tax dollar. and, alas, if snow removal was the only thing the city does poorly.


City has just engaged us in another feel good program. Name a hero in your neighborhood for good deeds. Of course one good deed is shovelling the gd snow out of the driveway entrance. Can’t make this up. 😳🥵

Peter E.

Very well put Barry. I have told my wife to sue the city, the works dept. and each of the councillors and mayor personally if I expire moving that hill of snow concrete at the end of my driveway. Its not that they haven’t been warned. It’s simple, on streets with front facing driveways devise a method the remove the snow ( if you must) such that residents are not blocked in their house. To continue in the fashion the city has adopted is inconsiderate, dangerous and rude.

Citi Zen

Ah, yes, but the new dedicated bike lanes downtown are well cleared as a priority.


It is interesting to see six snowplows practicing gang plow no snow. next yesterday on Mayor Magrath snow plows now snow blade up same on university drive 8pm no snow. It would be interesting to tell the citizens what the operating costs would be for each truck and driver no doubt a lot of overtime.. Our boulevard or back lane is not plowed cannot, get out our garage We never see a snowplow .