Falling snow raises costs

Steve Sharratt
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Souris Mayor David MacDonald says a handful of snow is going to cost a lot more to move this year

 Getting rid of the white stuff this year is going to cost a heavy load for one Island town.

While some communities have been lucky enough to dodge the bullet, Souris is bracing for a whopping 38 per cent increase.

“It’s a substantial increase this year,’’ says Mayor David MacDonald, “so much so that the possibility exists that we might go looking for tenders next year.”

MacDonald said the town has contracted with the same company for the past few years, but the company took such a big loss in 2015, the contractor is seeking a larger chunk of money this year.

The bounty of snow that blasted the million acre sandbar last year was a major headache for those trying to clear the roads, but it was even worse for individuals or companies working on a low tender price that ended up barely covering the gas.

“We’re not blaming the contractor, they give good service,” he said. “But they took a big loss and we felt the increase is too much.”

The volume of snow that fell during an eight-week period in 2015 had operators and equipment working around the clock and the rate for Souris this year has jumped from roughly $70,000 to almost $100,000.

“We’re not blaming the contractor, they give good service. But they took a big loss and we felt the increase is too much.” Souris Mayor David MacDonald

Depending on where you live, snowfall accumulation tallied up from 12 to 18 feet last year and put a strain on all snow removal resources.

The town of Alberton has a locked-in tender, and administrator Susan Wallace-Flynn said only a small fuel adjustment increase was included this year.

“We were lucky,’’ said Wallace-Flynn. “We sure hope there is not as much snow as last winter.”

The Kings County capital faces higher costs this year, but administrator Tonya Cameron Perry said the town was lucky because a new contractor low-balled a bid last year and the town accepted it.

“Our increase is minimal at $1,000,” she said. “But it’s tough for an operator signed in for a low price when such a heavy winter hits.”

The town of Montague escaped any increase as it enters the final year of a three-year tender.

“We were lucky and dodged the bullet,’’ said financial officer Jill Walsh.

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Prince, Alberton Kings Montague

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