St. John's spending $600,000 more on snow clearing this winter

At Monday night's meeting at city hall, St. John's City Council voted to accept a bid from Farrell's Excavating Ltd. of $855,585.63 to help the city with snow clearing.

Mayor Danny Breen says that's about $600,000 more than what was spent last year. 

"We were advised by the federal government that — as of this December — that we would be no longer able to dump snow in the harbour," he said.


Breen explained that sometimes harmful materials get caught up in the snow and the Fisheries Act doesn't allow for things like plastic to be dumped into the ocean. 

Which means all the snow that builds up in the downtown core of St. John's over the winter will have to be trucked across town to Robin Hood Bay. 

But the city has no other option — Water and Duckworth Street have to be cleared for public safety and in the event of an emergency.

"It is a federal requirement that we have to meet — it has to be done. Not any choice involved in it," Breen said.

Jeremy Eaton/CBC

The added expense is approximately triple of what the city paid last year and it will be about three times as much work for city staff and the hired contractors. 

"You want to maintain the same amount of removal and the same speed of removal," Breen said.

"That's what is required to basically have the service that you've had in previous years."

The mayor said that if it snows more, it could cost more, but if there is less snow, the city will save some money. 

The city will review the snow clearing operations at the end of the winter. 

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