Private snow removal services are predicting a winter of discontent in Calgary following a city move to ban public use of public snow storage sites.
The decision, voted by council last month, effectively buries the city’s long-standing arrangement of allowing private snow removal services to dump their loads free of charge at two city sites.
It’s caught some private operators off-guard.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t know where we’re going to put it,” said Patty Slywchuk, co-owner of SnowDogz, which relies on access to both sites, just as it has every year since their inception.
Slywchuk’s bread and butter are the more than 80 commercial contracts she holds, many with retailers who count on her to haul tonnes of snow from their parking lots about once a month during the winter to avoid build-ups on lucrative parking real estate.
“I think what’s going to happen is you’ll find snow dumped everywhere in ditches, in fields, wherever,” she said.
“That’s not right.
“I think as contractors we have to voice our concern as a group because, really, it doesn’t sound like they’re presenting an option for us.”
City officials are defending their decision, saying free snow dumping costs taxpayers an estimated $400,000 a year.
Furthermore, the sites are in need of costly upgrades and repairs due to damage caused by heavy equipment.
Ald. Andre Chabot said additional expenses accumulate when city crews have to “turn over” the snow to aid the melting process.
Snow removal services will simply have to make other arrangements.
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