CBRM rushes to clear snow as it braces for another storm
SYDNEY -- Towering snowbanks have become part of the landscape in Sydney and surrounding communities these days, and with another system expected Thursday night into Friday, the mountains of snow are only going to get higher.
"We've had pretty significant snowfall the past two weeks, probably over 100 centimetres," said John Phalen, who is with the public works department of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM).
According to Environment Canada, nearly 180 centimetres fell at the Sydney Airport in January, and February got off to a stormy start as well.
The CBRM's public works team has been busy for weeks widening roads and sidewalks.
On Wednesday, last-minute loads of snow were being trucked away to make room for Thursday's mess.
Still, even city staff are wondering where they are going to put it all.
"That's going to be a problem," Phelan said. "Right now, we're using big blowers to widen the roads because there's just no room to push it anymore. So we're pushing it into sidewalks and having to go back and re-plow sidewalks -- and a lot of times it ends up in peoples' properties."
Andrew Hamilton walks to and from work, and says the other day he was clipped by a truck on his way home.
"This is the first time I've been hit," Hamilton said.
With big snowbanks making it difficult to see around corners, and streets getting narrower, he's calling on drivers -- and fellow pedestrians -- to be extra careful.
"There's no room, and the snow is getting hard," Hamilton said. "At some point, you just have to say, 'Slow down, move over, give the pedestrian room.'"
If you're running a snow-removal business for the first time, like Joey Rudderham, you picked a good winter to start.
"We've been pretty steady," Rudderham said. "It seems like about a storm a week, basically. Customers are calling now, and things are picking up. It looks good for us."
If these storms keep up, they'll pretty soon be taking a bite out of the CBRM's snow removal budget.
"It's actually going into the budget pretty good now," Phelan said. "And probably in the next two months if this continues, we'll be looking at deficit."
And while there was virtually no snow here until the new year, Mother Nature is more than making up for it now.