Our snow clearing equipment wasn’t rusty from a lack of use.
Boxing Day brought a powerful winter storm to the Estevan area, with inches of snow blanketing the city. It was good news for farmers who have been yearning for moisture, and for those who love outdoor winter activities, such as snowmobiling or long hikes.
But for many others, they were cringing, especially since Boxing Day can be a busy day for shopping or for travelling. Many people were hoping to return home from Christmas visits with family, or travel to see those they didn’t see on Dec. 25.
The Boxing Day storm, and some of the other systems that have rolled through since, meant the stiffest test for the city’s snow removal plan in more than two years.
Snow removal is one of those things that if you do it, and do it well, taxpayers will forgive the cost. Sure, nobody wants to see the city spending half a million dollars to clear the snow after a storm, but they understand there’s a cost. And if they can navigate the city’s streets within a day or two of the snow coming to an end, they’ll understand.
They also realize that the city has to hire contractors when removing so much snow.
Social media isn’t always kind, but a quick look to Facebook in the days after Boxing Day will show resounding support for the snow removal efforts. Perhaps the only qualm people might have is that their street wasn’t cleared fast enough to suit their liking, but hey, they can’t all be Priority 1 and 2 streets.
You don’t see many people going online to say that the mass clearing efforts after a big storm are wasteful.
It’s a far cry from the frequent complaints we used to receive about the city’s snow removal efforts. Once upon a time, if we had a big snow, it would be days before you could drive safely if your vehicle was a small car. And there were areas, such as the northwest corner of the city, where a small car would not work.
Go to other communities after a big storm, and try to navigate the residential roads and the lower priority routes, and you’ll be pretty thankful for what we have in Estevan.
So we have snow. Lots of snow. More than we’ve had at this time of year since 2017. The streets are cleared. We can easily make our way around town. It cost money, but it seems to be worth it.
So let’s get out and enjoy it, rather than grumble.
If you’re into snowmobiling, your wish is granted. It hasn’t been easy for those who enjoy that form of seasonal activity. They’ve had to go to other parts of the province, or other provinces, to find the snow that they coveted.
It’s certainly an activity that one can enjoy while social distancing. Just be smart when you’re out on your sled. Follow the rules, use the trails, stay off private property and don’t drink and ride.
But there are other opportunities for enjoying the outdoors if you aren’t a sledder.
Now that the temperatures have warmed up, and we don’t have an extreme cold warning, we can comfortably use the outdoor rinks at the Kin Hillside Playpark and the Lions’ Rusty Duce Playpark.
The Estevan Public Library has snowshoes available for rent for people who want to try something new.
The crokicurl rink is ready to go at the front entrance of the Estevan Leisure Centre.
Cross-country skiing is a great way to enjoy the Woodlawn Regional Park.
And we now have all the new pathways that have been created in Estevan in the past seven months. They aren’t just for summer enjoyment. You’ll get to see some pretty impressive winter scenery.
So enjoy the snow that we have this winter. And remember that if we get another dump of snow in the next three months, we’ll have pretty good snow clearing crews.