City millions over budget with latest storm as crews dig out streets and sidewalks
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The dollars and snow banks keep rising but Halifax’s mayor says a state of emergency isn’t necessary for this “extraordinary winter.”
Mayor Mike Savage and city CAO Richard Butts met with reporters and other officials Thursday morning to urge residents to band together as crews dig out streets and sidewalks after the region saw more than 80 centimetres fall since Sunday.
Butts said the extra 50 pieces of snow removal equipment brought in Wednesday, and long hours being put in by crews will add up to roughly $29 million by the time winter is over – about 9 or $10 million over budget.
“We have reserve accounts for these type of things,” Butts said.
“We have some options, but at the end of day there’s going to be a price tag attached to this, absolutely.”
Savage said a state of emergency is not a situation entered into lightly, and the ban on all street parking for much of Thursday gave anything an emergency state would offer, such as the ability to ticket and tow cars that are blocking emergency vehicles and clearing efforts.
Halifax Regional Police also shut down sections of roads around the city Thursday to allow loaders and trucks free reign to clear streets and sidewalks more quickly.
Council has been clear that the city will use whatever resources necessary when it comes to snow removal and keeping residents safe, Savage said.
“This is an extraordinary winter and it’s going to require extraordinary measures,” he said.
Savage said he was happy to hear about businesses offering equipment and help clearing crews, and how CFB Halifax members were being directed to help in their neighbourhoods where possible.
“It’s a true reflection of … how Halifax bands together in difficult times,” Savage said.
Winter Operations superintendent Darrin Natolino said all residential streets would likely be plowed by Thursday evening, while crews continued cutting back snow banks, trucking away the snow and working on sidewalks despite the challenges navigating the “sheer volume” of it.
“We have no intention of slowing down and will continue to do the best we can,” Natolino said.