In Squamish, complaining is akin to a bonafide sport, especially when it comes to whining about the District.
Next to dog poop and development, nothing brings out the inner grouch in locals as much as snow clearing.
Stand in any coffee shop or hang around the rec centre as people come and go and it is common to hear mumbles of streets not cleared and the words “lazy” about District road crews thrown around like snowballs on a 1980s playground.
Of course, turning a critical eye to any level of government is healthy. With power comes responsibility.
Places where people can’t beak off about their governments — North Korea and Burma come to mind — are not free.
But at times the cacophony of whines in town rises to epic proportions and this isn’t fair, or healthy.
Truth be told, the District does a pretty good job tackling Mother Nature’s white gift each winter.
And we should give credit where credit is due.
Crews have to tackle 177.3 kms of road, according to District staff.
That is a lot of road.
And most of the time, locals can get in their car and get to work the morning after a storm (don’t blame the District for your driveway or strata lot’s conditions).
Take to the trails and, thanks to the addition of the trails and sidewalk maintenance machine in 2018 (at a cost of $230,000), getting around by foot is even easier for most.
This isn’t St. John’s, Newfoundland, which gets an average of 335 cms of snow per winter, according to Liz Osborn of CurrentResults.com.
Squamish averages 235 cms.
We wouldn’t want as much (taxpayer-funded) equipment as snowier cities.
So what exactly is the municipality working with? Glad you asked.
Squamish has three dump trucks with nose plows; two Ford 550s with front plows and salters; one grader, one backhoe, one loader, and one tractor.
For a run-of-the-mill winter storm, the District has 17 crewmembers out. Three more can be called in for significant snowfalls.
So, if you are looking out the window and your road isn’t plowed, why can’t you be mad?
Well, roads are plowed in priority sequence.
Red routes, or those of top priority to be plowed such as arterial roads, major collector roads, bus routes, police and fire and ambulance stations, hills and safe routes to school are the District’s priorities.
That is about 100 kms of roads that all should agree take priority over most suburbs, right?
Business areas and civic buildings come next.
And then residential streets beginning with main roads and problem locations.
Next time there is a snowstorm — and despite the lovely spring-like conditions last weekend, we are likely in for more white stuff before winter leaves town — ask yourself whether your frustration is fair or misguided?
Then maybe give the crews a wave, with something other than your middle finger.
Find more on the District’s snow clearing at squamish.ca.