Winnipeg residents face more snow woes, with a long winter ahead

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

One snowstorm down, more to come, and the deluge of fluffy white stuff is already throwing citizens and cleaning crews in Winnipeg into fits.

The Manitoba capital was hit with more than 20 cm of snow earlier this week, filling in laneways and driveways, sidewalks and side streets. This is business as usual for the city, which grins and bares the nickname Winterpeg, as long as you don't double-pun it by adding Manisnowba to the moniker.

But the snowfalls have sent city crews into a tailspin, facing a deluge of complaints about confusing street-cleaning schedules, improperly towed cars and leaving the garbage system in a ruddy mess.

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The Winnipeg Free Press reports that more than 500 cars were towed on Monday as plows first hit the streets, and another 2,700 received warnings. The city's information hotline received more than 1,100 calls mostly from residents trying to figure out the snow clearing schedule.

Winnipeg should be the New York Yankees of winter maintenance. It should be the David to winter's Goliath, minus the biblical undertones.  The first snowplowing of the winter should run as flawlessly as a Cirque de Soleil premier event.

According to the Press, the confusion was prominently caused by the implementation of a new system that breaks the plowing schedule down into zones. No one knew where it was safe to park, or even what street were poised for cleaning.

From the Press:

On Tuesday, city officials recognized its education campaign for the new system was faulty and granted amnesty to citizens ticketed for not moving vehicles during the snowstorm clean-up. This time, they will not have to pay fines of up to $150.

"We wanted to give the citizens of Winnipeg the benefit of getting to know their zones," said Ken Boyd, city streets maintenance manager.

Alright, so first time out with a new cleaning schedule, there are bound to be a hiccup or two. The great news is that Winnipeg should have plenty of time to perfect the system.

The Old Farmer's Almanac expects a decent amount of snow for the city, with some of the heaviest snowfalls expected between January and March. By the last snowstorm in April, those snowdrifts will surely be cleared without a single towed car or lost garbage can.

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Oh, Winnipeg. It is going to be a long winter, isn't it?