Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

If they just had a crystal ball...

Katz defends snow-clearing effort

  • Print

Senior city officials and politicians came to the defence of the public works department's handling of the latest snow-clearing effort, which has resulted in many impassable streets and sidewalks and an unprecedented number of fender-benders.

During a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Sam Katz said people may not like the results, but city crews and private contractors did the best job they could under extremely difficult circumstances.

"I'm not going to sit here and claim that we've done the best that can be done," Katz said. "I will say to you that we used all the resources that we have... and (are) doing the best we can."

The city's public works department has been heavily criticized for failing to remove the ruts before the temperatures dropped and turned them rock-solid.

Katz, along with Coun. Justin Swandel, chairman of the public works committee, and public works director Brad Sacher, said decisions were made by experienced officials, but the results were unexpected.

Sacher said the poor condition of the roads was largely the result of a combination of unusual weather factors: two snowstorms back to back that left 30 centimetres of snow, surrounded by frigid temperatures that created ruts and ridges akin to concrete and impossible to remove.

"Overall, both our contracted resources and our city resources have done a great job under very difficult circumstances," Sacher said.

"We've had some really unprecedented things happening... We're going to have problems, we did have problems, and we've been addressing them."

Katz defended the public works officials, saying it's always easier to make better decisions after the fact.

"The realities are the (public works) department followed the policy, which was set by council and, based on that policy, they decided when (crews) are going to go out," Katz said.

"If someone had a crystal ball and could have seen everything in the future, they might have made different decisions."

Sacher and Katz said the snow clearing wasn't affected by budget considerations but what officials believed were the correct moves to make at the time.

Despite the high praise by Sacher, Swandel (St. Norbert) said the work of every private contractor will be reviewed prior to contracts being renewed for next winter.

Sacher said the coming warmer weather will make it easier to remove the ruts and make the streets passable. He outlined a series of snow-clearing efforts that will be taking place over the next few days, including:

Crews will finally make it to Island Lakes and the Maples -- two neighbourhoods where the private contractor failed to do any residential street clearing during two street-clearing initiatives -- and that work should be done by Saturday.

Residential sidewalks will be cleared beginning this morning. However, Sacher said the normal five-day effort will likely take seven days to complete because of the heavy, compacted snow.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 9, 2014 A3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Trucks power through flooded underpass at Main St and Higgins

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY

View More Gallery Photos


Does Canada need a national inquiry into the disproportionately high number of missing and murdered aboriginal women?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google