ARICHAT: Richmond County wants to raise the issue of snow clearing during an upcoming meeting with Department of Transportation and Active Transport officials.

District 1 councillor Shawn Samson told the regular monthly meeting in Arichat on Feb. 22 that he received complaints from residents following the winter storm on Feb. 16.

“I guess I had some concerns from my district for sure,” he said. “I have an aging population in my district, and a lot of them live in byroads. There was a lot of concerns that their byroads weren’t cleared up in time. After the storm was over, it took several days to get rid of some ice and some snow.”

According to the provincial government, Samson said crews have eight hours on highways, 12 hours on byroads, and 24 hours on subdivision and dirt roads to clear the routes after the snow stops.

“It states ‘after the snow stops,’” he noted. “The last storm we had a couple of weeks ago, it snowed for 12 hours. For someone in a byroad, it says clearly the roads will be cleared 12 hours after the snowstorm, so if a byroad is bypassed the first 12 hours of a storm, you have 12 hours of snow accumulation there that is in a byroad before a plow goes down there. So we’re looking at a very dangerous situation for people that are of age.”

The district 1 councillor recommended a meeting between council, transportation officials, and the Emergency Measures Organization coordinator.

“I would love to have an open discussion with some of their challenges, versus some of our concerns and our residents’ concerns,” he said. “I’m not talking about a two to five centimetre dusting of snow. This is not the problem here. But if there’s a major snow storm, that we plan appropriately.”

District 5 councillor Brent Sampson said he was recently speaking with a transportation official that they would like to meet with council in April.

“I know it’s a concern, I have a lot of rural areas within my district as well,” he said. “I’ve tried to keep in touch somewhat, but keep from annoying them too much as well, just to relay the concerns across. It is a safety issue.”

Deputy warden Michael Diggdon said anyone whose road has not been plowed, or whose road was not plowed sufficiently, can call 902-625-2540.

Richmond Warden Amanda Mombourquette said she’s spoken with a transportation supervisor who wants to meet soon.

Council approved a motion to instruct municipal staff to reach out to the department to schedule a meeting.