(File Photo/Jacoba Schroevers)

Kent, Harrison prepared for snow

Municipalities ready snow clearing strategies heading into colder months

With fresh powder starting to hit the hills at Manning Park and stories of snow and ice clogging up the Coquihalla, it’s likely that the white stuff is on its way to the Fraser Valley in the near future.

Related: Snow prayers answered as Manning Park ski hill opens Friday

Both Kent and Harrison have upped their snow clearing games in the last few years, developing new strategies, adding equipment and using technology to better attack snow when it hits local streets and sidewalks.

District of Kent

Kent brings out its heavy equipment when snow piles higher than 75 millimetres or during conditions where ice could form.

The District’s snow fleet includes four dump trucks outfitted with front plows and sanders, a large grader – used for street clearing), one backhoe loader and another loader used for moving snow in areas like parking lots.

Last year Kent started using snow blowers to tackle sidewalks fronting municipal properties.

Road access for emergency vehicles is Kent’s top priority, as well as access to District water and waste water facilities, school bus routes, streets accessing senior facilities, commercial core routes, rural milk truck routes and federal prison access routes.

Secondary priorities include residential areas, District sidewalks and parking lots and sidewalk letdowns for pedestrian crosswalks.

Engineering technologist Patrick Stephens said there’s one new piece of technology that will make record keeping easier for the District this year: GPS tracking added to all equipment.

“They have been outfitted with GPS trackers so we can go back and look at historical data,” said Stephens.

That data helps the District know when and where their equipment has been; a useful tool if residents have concerns about snow clearing in their neighbourhood.

Related: District of Kent to implement snow fence pilot project

Related: WATCH: Photos of snow and ice around Agassiz and Harrison

Village of Harrison

Like Kent, Harrison prioritizes removing snow on major routes and providing assistance to emergency response vehicles. Extreme hazard zones, business areas, civic buildings and lane ways and other main roadways come before residential streets, and at the very bottom of the list: public sidewalks in residential areas.

Harrison’s Public Works department conducts regular road assessments to stay on top of sanding and salting. It states that during severe weather forecasts, “personnel and equipment are mobilized to provide 24-hour response.”

Villagers and business owners are expected to take care of snow removal on their own properties, clearing driveways and sidewalks, pushing snow to the left side of their property and avoiding pushing snow onto the road or sidewalk.

In its Snow & Ice Removal Guide, Harrison lists other ways residents can help:

  • Remove all vehicles from the street
  • Help others, especially seniors and disabled people
  • Please keep catch basins clear of snow and ice
  • Clear the snow from your sidewalks
  • Keep fire hydrants clear of snow and other obstructions
  • Keep your children safe. Advise children to walk on the left side of the road. Restrict children from playing sports on the streets when the streets are to be.

Residents in both Kent and Harrison can access the new Snow Angels program provided by Agassiz Harrison Community Services. It may develop in the future, but for now the program is offering signs for the front windows of homes where residents need snow clearing assistance.

Forms for Snow Angel signs are available at Community Services (7086 Cheam Avenue).



nina.grossman@ahobserver.com

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