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Snow removal after January’s blizzard cost the City of Mississauga nearly $2M
June 20, 2022
Abby Neufeld

Clearing nearly 50cm of snow that fell during a major winter storm in the Greater Toronto Area this past January cost the City of Mississauga close to $2 million, according to a report released by city council.

The storm, which took place over the course of Jan. 16 and 17, saw nearly 45 cm fall in Mississauga over an 18-hour period.

The 2022 major snow event post operational report, authored by the city's commissioner of transportation and works, found that the snow accumulation, along with a high number of parked cars left on the street and difficulty finding replacement contract plow drivers, posed a challenge to the city and cost them $1.8M.

The city says cars were too often left parked on the road, meaning streets had to be redone at another time, “as equipment could not perform their plowing operation during the initial pass.”

“This prolonged the event much longer than normal, as crews had to attend to roadways multiple times to clear the road properly,” the report reads.

The city also highlights the inability of contractors to provide ample replacement drivers to run plows overnight as an added challenge in their snow removal effort.

“This meant that equipment sat idle for up to eight hours before the driver could return to work after completing the required eight-hour break under the Highway Traffic Act,” the report said.

The city says the lack of replacement drivers delayed service by up to 24 hours.

The approximate operational cost of this winter event, including required snow removal in the following days, was $1.8M

The City of Toronto issued their version of the same report in March 2022, in which they said 180,000 tonnes of snow was removed from streets, sidewalks, and bicycle paths at a cost of more than $17 million, or more than 20 per cent of their annual winter maintenance budget.

Their report also identified a number of challenges posed to a timely clearing of the snow, including “supporting the immediate needs of emergency services, digging out TTC vehicles, strain on equipment, manual clearing to avoid infrastructure and property damage, logistics of removing and relocating the volume of snow as quickly as possible, some contractor issues and communicating service levels and response times.”

Crews also experienced equipment breakdowns due to additional wear and tear and pandemic-related supply chain shortages that led to delays and disruptions for parts, forcing crews to manually clear some areas to prevent damage to infrastructure.

Resources were redeployed to help dig out nearly 500 TTC buses that had become stuck following the storm.

An estimated 62,000 calls were received by 311 in relation to the weather event.