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Concerns about Nelson’s winter sidewalks aired

When it comes to snow removal the City of Nelson has approved amendments to its policy by prioritizing sidewalks as well as roads.

Councilor Keith Page opened the discussion at council by saying there should be room to integrate sidewalks on some priority level.

“It occurs to me after having walked the streets throughout the winter,” says Page. “There are certainly priorities, within our priorities, of the sidewalk network, especially getting people downtown after heavy snowfall events because people can’t get their cars out. 

“The way it is stacked right now is all roadway values, once they are complete then we get to sidewalks, ” he says.

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Page inquired about changing the policy to move some of the core routes within the city to make traffic movement possible for everyone in Nelson. 

“In terms of having an integrated plan that supports all of the traffic,” he says. “Is there room to consider how we might take some of the core routes that get you from areas of the city to the core, or improve their priority setting?”

Charlie Henderson, director of operations for the City of Nelson, says they are looking at several methods to increase plowing and allow traffic to flow but there are many variables to consider.

“We have really tried to increase the 4 a.m. shift to deal with snow emergencies,” says Henderson. “This has helped us make sure emergency routes are clear in a timely manner, then moving through those priority lists to the sidewalks.” 

Henderson says as the morning progresses, a deployment strategy is followed.

“Once 7 a.m. hits more staff come in [and] we are not just plowing the road, and then the sidewalk,” he says. “We have the street plows out then the sidewalk plows come out.”

Mayor Janice Morrison said the policy should be adopted for this current season, but in the interest of time they can review making more changes for the next season.

“I think we have to take care of this now,” Morrison says. “We are in the middle of the season, and these are some changes that Mr. Henderson wants to put in place now. If we defer this it could be another month, and that could take us right into the high snow season.” 

The policy changes were approved unanimously by council.

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