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Peel Street snow-removal project a success

While spring has arrived, Penetanguishene staff report readies town for next winter
Snow removal on Peel Street from Robert Street down to the Canada House parking lot staircase was problematic until staff found a solution to implement this year. File photo.

Penetang staff believe they may have found an effective solution to the snow removal obstacles on Peel Street and the Canada House parking lot.

Public works director Bryan Murray said the problem was on the existing sidewalk on Peel Street, where the businesses end and the stairs to the Canada House parking lot begin.

He said snow removal in that area had been difficult due to barriers like gas meters, the staircase as well as the actual width of the sidewalk. The size of the sidewalk plow blade is 60 inches and several spots along the section that remained unreachable varied between 59 inches and 44 inches.

"There's just never been the ability for one the sidewalk plow to get in there and maintain it properly," Murray said. Earlier this year, staff came up with a number of options for council to consider when addressing this problem.

The report presented to council earlier in the year, outlined the cost the town would incur if the three contract road patrollers hired by the town were to be given this additional responsibility. 

The option taken by council required an addition of $16,500 in the operational budget for road patroller/equipment operation.

Out of that money, $10,000 went towards wages and benefits for the three town staff whose time was allocated towards the clearing of snow and salting of the sidewalk in question. The remaining money was spent towards purchasing a snowblower and an electric lift gate for one of its existing pickup trucks.

Staff suggested that the town could close off the unmaintained section through a bylaw, contract out the work to a company, use transitional staff to maintain the section or use town staff to maintain the section up to provincial standards.

Council decided to go with last option.

"This past season was the first season we've done that," Murray said, noting he hadn't heard any complaints about the service.

"So it sounds like it's gone very well," he said. "We've got it within our operating budget to carry it forward through to the foreseeable future until we can get a piece of equipment on it."

The item was brought forward at April's committee of the whole meeting and staff was asked to prepare a follow-up report on the efficacy of the option selected by council and to recommend if this was the best way forward, said Murray.