Ward 9 Great Neighbourhoods Calgary – Gian-Carlo Carra

This is the official website for Gian-Carlo Carra, City Councillor for Ward 9 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Filtering by Tag: City of Calgary Roads

Should Calgary invest more in snow removal?

Every winter my office receives calls, emails, and social media messages about snow and the conditions of our roadways. From concerns about sidewalk and pathway clearing, to windrows and access to public transportation, people are frustrated with our winter conditions and The City’s ability to effectively remove snow and ice and ease mobility issues.

I have noticed a significant shift in our conversation about our priorities and the need for a new approach to snow removal. As we become more urban, inadequate snow removal on sidewalks, pathways, crosswalks and in front of bus stops has become unacceptable to some. Today our values not only include having safe roadways for cars (undoubtedly critical) but also involve creating a more accessible city for pedestrians and cyclists.

It is true that other Canadian cities are doing a better job of clearing snow from infrastructure for their citizens. Calgary’s Winter Operations budget is $38.7 million currently (an increase of $600,000 from 2017) and is one of the lowest. For comparison, Montreal’s budget for winter maintenance is $155 million. Toronto’s is $94 million and Edmonton’s is $63 million. Obviously, increased capacity to manage snow and ice would come at a cost and a substantial shift in our priorities.

Having built a city that for decades has allowed urban sprawl to go largely unchecked has also produced challenges to snow removal. If we were to place every piece of roadway in Calgary from end-to-end it would be enough to go to Halifax and back, twice! That is a lot roadway to clear every time it snows and if we wanted to see better winter maintenance operations in our city we would need to invest at least another $50 - $60 million to the snow removal budget. 

Calgary’s underinvestment in winter maintenance operations is largely due to climatic realities - we are situated on a high-plains desert with one of the lowest precipitation rates in the country and a frequent freeze-and-thaw cycle due to our chinooks. As such, former and current City Councils have decided to invest your tax dollars into other city services rather than having the winter maintenance budgets we see in other cities.

My question to all of my Ward 9 neighbours is this: Is it time that the City of Calgary start significantly investing in our Winter Operations budget?

Name *
1 *
The City of Calgary does an adequate job in removing snow and ice on all roadways in Calgary (note: roadways include any road that allows for car traffic).
2 *
The City of Calgary does an adequate job removing snow and ice from sidewalks, crosswalks, pathways and bus stops.
3 *
The City of Calgary should put more of a priority on clearing roadways in Calgary.
4 *
The City of Calgary should put more of a priority on clearing sidewalks, crosswalks, pathways and bus stops in Calgary.
5 *
The City of Calgary should increase the Winter Operations budget to provide better snow and ice removal on roadways.
6 *
The City of Calgary should increase the Winter Operations budget to provide better snow and ice removal on sidewalks, crosswalks, pathways and bus stops.
7 *
The City of Calgary should increase the Winter Operations budget by reducing services elsewhere.
8 *
The City of Calgary should increase the Winter Operations budget by increasing taxes.
I believe the Winter Operations budget should be increased by:
10 *
Residents should be responsible for clearing the sidewalk outside of their homes.
11 *
Businesses and community institutions (e.g. schools, faith organizations, community centres) should be responsible for clearing the sidewalk outside of their buildings.
12 *
If residents, businesses or community institutions do not clear their sidewalks within 24 hours they should be fined immediately.

Everyday I'm shovellin', shovellin'

December 20, 2017

I hope that everybody has made it safely through the snow over the last 24 hours.

As I can imagine, there may be some frustration out there about roads getting cleared, but be assured that the City of Calgary does have a plan and here’s the update for December 20.


Calgary’s received between 12-20 cm of snow since noon yesterday leaving roads, sidewalks and cycling infrastructure snow-covered. Snow flurries continue to fall in some pockets of the city. The City of Calgary’s full complement of crews are out working on high volume routes, clearing snow and laying down material.

Our friends, family and neighbours who drive are reminded to slow down and drive for the winter road conditions.

The focus for City of Calgary crews is on P1 (Priority 1) Routes and there has been a good response to this storm.

Our priority system consists of Priority 1 - 4. The current status is:

  • Priority 1 - 5% complete
  • Priority 2 - 0% complete
  • Cycle Track – 0% complete
  • Bike Lanes - 10% complete
  • Priority 3 and Priority 4 – 0% complete

You can keep track of completed routes and current progress by clicking here

The cost so far to respond to this latest snow storm has been $289k including $12K of contractor costs. Annual budget of $38.1M, the General Ledger is at $37.1M (97%) spent as of December 20. No updates were sent for snow event #7 and snow was primarily in the southern region of Calgary.

Material usage during this snow period:

  • 393 tonnes of salt
  • 25 tonnes of pickle mix
  • 6,555 litres of liquid products (salt brine, calcium chloride brine and a carbohydrate based brine).

What’s next?

The 7-day forecast shows periods of snow falling until Thursday. Looks like we are going to have a white Christmas, after all. 

7 day forcast.jpg

P.S. If you saw a wet brown solution on the roads before the storm yesterday, don’t be alarmed – the Roads Department is trialing beet juice mixed with salt brine as an anti-icing agent. The mixture has been used in provinces across Canada highway maintenance and has been proven to be a very effective material for snow and ice control.

P.P.S. Roads is also trialing the use of snow gates this winter season. These prevent snow from being transferred off the end of the plow thus reducing windrows for short stretches on roadways which will improve accessibility for Calgarians.

P.P.P.S Thank you to my friends in Roads for this fantastic information!