Oshawa says a full review – not a single plow with articulating blade – is needed for windrows

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Published April 3, 2023 at 2:06 pm

Photo courtesy Town of Richmond Hill

The City of Oshawa will get public feedback on snow clearing and on the contentious issues of dealing with windrows but will not purchase or rent a snow plow with articulating blade for next winter, council decided Monday.

Two parts of the three-part motion presented by Councillor Rosemary McConkey – that of getting residents involved via a survey and reviewing what adjustments works staff can do to improve response times during heavy snow events – did get approved.

The third motion to buy or rent a single plow with an articulating blade to better deal with windrows – that pile of snow left behind at the top of driveways – did not win the day, with Councillor Brian Nicholson saying one plow “will not solve the problem.”

Nicholson called the motion a “token” gesture – which had McConkey on her feet on a point of privilege – and said it would be better to “ask the experts” and have staff perform a “serious, serious review” on the matter.

The City has six plows currently that could be adapted to handle an articulating blade, with staff noting it would take a lot more plows and $4 to $6 million to solve the windrow problem.

McConkey recognized that acquiring a single plow will not solve the issue but “having equipment available is the next step.”

“This is something the city needs.”

Councillor Bob Chapman, who was in the Mayor’s chair for the meeting, agreed that a full report will be required. “It’s quite obvious if we do windrows it’s going to come at a cost to taxpayers,” he said, adding that cleaning windrows after the main plow could also slow down the entire process.

“To be frank, I didn’t get too many calls about windrows,” he said. “People wanted to know ‘when are you going to plow my street?’”

Part three of the motion also called for the City to buy or rent a snow melter to help with major accumulations but Council was told the equipment was not being considered by works staff right now.

The results from the survey and the staff report are expected to be delivered in time for 2024 budget deliberations.

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