The City of St. John’s is confident the layoff of employees at the municipal depot Friday will not result in poor road conditions over the next few days when the Avalon is expected to be hit by a spring snowfall.
— Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
Mayor Dennis O’Keefe told The Telegram this morning that every year the crew, mostly responsible for dealing with snow-related duties, are laid off around the same time.
“We did go ahead with the layoffs on Friday which was based on weather reports this week. Anything can happen with our weather, but with the crew that’s on I’m told they can handle it, ” he said.
In recent years O’Keefe said the extra crews that are hired in November have been kept on sometimes until mid-April, again based on weather reports, but this year it wasn’t deemed necessary.
O’Keefe said the number of employees has gone from 180 to 50.
The mayor said given the fact crews are no longer trucking snow and widening roads, the remainder of the employees can handle what needs to be done.
“Those operations have ceased, so the crew of 50 are on standby and available for overtime. So they’re out sanding now and they were out yesterday, and I have to say they’re doing a good job,” said O’Keefe.
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Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for today for St. John’s and the southwest region of the Avalon Peninsula.
Schools in the St. John’s Metro Region system were closed for the day.
According to the weather office, snow will be heavy at times and 15 centimetres is expected before the snow tapers off tonight.
A second storm is headed for the province Wednesday and continuing into Thursday.
Environment Canada describes this system as a “major winter storm” and says very strong winds and significant snowfall are expected. However, precipitation is likely to change to rain over much of the island Wednesday night as temperatures rise above freezing.
Monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment Canada at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca.