City prepared for winter weather

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2010/12/10/16507416.html#/news/ottawa/2010/12/10/pf-16509556.html

There’s barely any snow on the ground, but that’s supposed to change Sunday.

Forecasters are predicting freezing rain or about five to 10 cm of snow.

And the city’s public works department is ready.

“If it comes as predicted, we’ll have all our staff out on Sunday, Monday. That will consist of approximately 600 people and 550 pieces of machinery,” said Dan O’Keefe, manager of roads & traffic operations.

This year’s winter maintenance budget is $69 million dollars.

And every big storm puts a sizable dent in it.

“In a 20-plus cm storm, you’re approaching a $2 million dollar bill to plow and clean it up,” said O’Keefe.

Cleaning it up is a huge issue for taxpayers, according to Kanata south councillor Allan Hubley.

“Last summer in July when it was 40 C out, I was knocking on doors as part of the campaigning and people were talking about snow removal,” Hubley said.

O’Keefe has his fingers crossed for a white Christmas, but isn’t sure if this weekend will bring most of that snow.

“I never predict. I just take it as it comes,” he said.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

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