Councillor wants rural road partnership with private snowplows

A motion expected at an Ottawa city council meeting Wednesday will explore the possibility of partnering with private snowplow operators to get rural roads cleared faster.Rideau-Jock Ward Coun. David Brown is behind the motion and said he’s heard a number of complaints from constituents about how long it takes for city crews to clear residential streets.”With the intensification that we’re seeing in some of our new subdivisions, the issue seems to be a little more prevalent,” he said. That’s because homes are being built closer together, driveways are smaller, and more people are forced to park on the street.It’s also an issue that became worse after amalgamation, he said. Before, cities and townships would be responsible for residential streets and regions would be responsible for arterial roads.”You would see a city plow or a township plow on your residential street much sooner than we do today,” said Brown.Addressing snowplow ‘dead time’A partnership with privately owned plow operators might go a long way in addressing what Brown referred to as “dead time”  — the length of time between when a private contractor might show up and clear a driveway and when a city plow arrives to clear the road.He said that it can often take hours, particularly in rural areas.A partnership with private operators could help cut those wait times, said Brown. Rideau-Jock Coun. David Brown said it makes sense to tap into the resources private contractors have available. (Jean Delisle/CBC)”These private operators have a significant number of resources, both in terms of personnel and equipment and frequently arrive on residential streets significantly before municipal street plows arrive,” reads Brown’s motion.”If the resources are on the street and we can try to tap into that, it just makes sense,” he later said to CBC.Brown’s motion asks city staff to do a review of other municipalities across Canada to see if there are similar partnerships elsewhere and ultimately explore the possibility of a pilot project in Ottawa.

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