Cartmell houses the city hall for snow removal in Edmonton
A city councilman says he heard concerns from Edmonton residents about this year’s snow removal “loud and clear,” especially when it comes to improving communication about skating in the neighborhood.
On Wednesday night, Tim Cartmell hosted an online town hall to collect feedback on snow and ice management. He plans to present that information to the city council at a meeting Thursday.
“I want to hear any concerns people may have,” he told CTV News Edmonton before the event.
“I want to understand all these specific anecdotes that become general issues,” added Cartmell, who represents Ward pihêsiwin. “There is definitely a lot of room for improvement. We absolutely do not want people to be wrongly ticketed.”
Dozens attended the roughly two-hour event and voiced frustrations ranging from the city’s failure to post signs that crews were entering their neighborhoods to the frequency of streets being cleared.
This year, the city implemented a new notification system to better notify residents by text or email when snow removal began in the area. Several people expressed concern that despite signing up for the service, they were never notified after the parking ban was declared.
“My advice to the administration will be that we have to be very, very clear about the fact that there are bans,” Cartmell said. “And be very, very clear about what form of notifications people can expect and, frankly, how reliable those forms of communication are going to be.”
An Edmonton resident shared that they signed up to receive text messages for their home, but got a ticket after parking in front of a friend’s door on the other side of town during the curfew.
“That’s a tough one,” Cartmell responded.
“If you’re not in your own neighborhood and you have no idea if this neighborhood is about to be plowed up or not, how do we make sure you’re informed about it,” he mused.
Another person asked Cartmell if the city would implement a “grace period” for those who received tickets, given the number of issues with no-parking notices.
“The last thing we want – and I’m sure my council colleagues would agree – is lots of people getting tickets,” Cartmell replied, adding that he doubted the city would forego tickets.
“What we really want is for cars to be out of the way so the crews can do the job quickly, carefully and correctly. Wait for a full 10 or 12 day ban to expire.”
A visitor to City Hall suggested the idea of city employees piling the snow cleared from residential roads into stormwater ponds to save on the cost of transporting it to distant snow stores.
Cartmell acknowledged asking the same question at a recent committee meeting with Epcor and city officials, saying it could violate environmental regulations.
“I’m going to dig into that,” Cartmell said. “Because I feel like we’re designing this thing way too much and analyzing this thing way too much.”
Another person asked the alderman why St. Albert can clear roads to almost bare pavement without creating huge swaths.
Cartmell said the neighboring community’s wider boulevards save the money by not having to remove the cleared snow.
Someone else asked if city crews visit a neighborhood before crews move through to assess if planing is even necessary.
“I don’t think they do,” said the alderman. “I think we’re pulling the trigger to plow every road in Edmonton, and then we’re going to plow every road in Edmonton whether it’s necessary or not, and I don’t think that’s right.”