By Korie Marshall
Nobody likes the ridge of snow from the plow in their driveway. But I am getting tired of hearing people complain about it. It’s your driveway, it’s your responsibility, not the Village staff’s or LDM’s.
When there is not a lot of snow, or when it is light and fluffy, it’s not really a problem. The snow is easier for us to shovel, it’s easier for the plows to move and get out of the way, it takes less time overall, so the operators can be more careful and thoughtful, and not leave so much in your driveway. And if they do, it’s not so hard to get out and shovel it.
When we get snow like we got this past weekend across the Valley and the past couple weeks in McBride and Mount Robson, it’s a little different. Of course we complain, because that snow is heavy and hard to shovel. There’s less places to put it, because we’ve already filled up the spots, and the early snow has frozen near solid at the bottom. Water – yes, remember, we’ve gotten rain too, or just the melting from mild temperatures and the sun – seeps down to the bottom and makes it slushy and even thicker. I don’t know about you, but I saw it all last weekend. Our little tractor has kept up with the snow, we’ve plowed and shoveled nice wide paths and been happy to play around – until last weekend. We knew we’ve been having it easy, but we’re making up for it now.
But the thing is – it’s harder for equipment operators too. I know that snow took much more than our little tractor to deal with; it takes a lot of machines, a lot of time, and a lot of work. People clearing our streets are having the same problem as we are shoveling. T
he snow is thick, and in many places it gets packed down by those who had to go to work, and by the very equipment clearing the snow. We’re running out of places to put it, and sure, there are ways to move it away, but that takes time and equipment, and staff – which are already busy with trying to clear a path.
No, the Village of Valemount did not buy a new grader for its ability to drop the guard so you don’t get a pile of snow in your driveway. It was bought to dig deep in the packed snow and ice, to move the big banks, and if the driver doesn’t have time to drop the guard, I am sorry for those who have to shovel more, but I know it is because there are a lot more streets to do.
And I know one other thing – there is lots of help available. I’ve been seeing and hearing about people helping each other all over the place, and I especially love hearing stories of kids helping neighbours, seniors, ill and injured people, and refusing to take money for it.
I’ve been heartened to see compliments on social media to the village crews and LDM staff who have been working hard to keep the streets clean and highways clear.
It is dangerous and thankless work. I’d like to add my thanks to those people who work hard, sometimes long hours, come in on days off (because we of course can’t predict snow, and it doesn’t pay attention to our work week) to start getting the snow out of our way.
And my thanks for the dedication of people who still got out to do their jobs, even before the streets were plowed, and to the people who stayed home if they could, to stay out of the way of those clearing the snow. My apologies also, for when I was in someone’s way.
Cleanup is going to take a while, and I won’t be surprised when we all get another dump of snow. Staff in both villages still has a lot of work to do, amid all the other regular stuff they have to do. I am sure LDM still has a lot of work to do as well, and when I heard about the avalanche at Shale Hill, I must admit, I was terrified – of how big we originally heard it was, of who might be caught in it, of what else might come down, and of what it might mean if the highway stayed closed for longer than it did.
Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as we first heard, and the highway is open again. Our streets are too, and many thanks to all the people keeping our communities moving. If it takes you a bit of work to get out of your driveway, take your time, or ask for help. There is a lot available.