Union says plows redirected from Southlands during storm

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Streets weren’t mistakenly missed in Southlands during last week’s storm, claims the union representing St. John’s snow plow workers.

Canadian Union of Public Employees national representative Ed White said today Mayor Dennis O’Keefe has been misinformed.

After last week’s storm, which enraged snowed-in residents in Southlands, O’Keefe apologized for what he said were streets missed by the plow.

“The members of Local 569 are taking issue with some of the public statements that have been made about recent storm events and snow-clearing,” White said in a news release.

“First of all, we do not believe the mayor has been fully informed. The streets that were supposedly missed in the Southlands area of the city were a result of equipment being redirected to other areas to deal with heavy drifting.” 

White pointed out the city uses an automated vehicle locator (AVL) system and could have recognized that some of the streets in Southlands had not been plowed.

“As has already been discussed at length in the media, the layoff of seasonal staff at a time when a significant snowfall was forecasted was definitely a major factor in the problems from last week’s storm,” he said.

Local 569 president Terry Bennett said the union “cautiously” agrees with a review of snow-clearing operations, but is concerned who or what has expertise to conduct such a review. 

“Any review will be a waste of taxpayer’s money unless extensive consultation is undertaken with the men and women that operate the equipment for the city,” Bennett said.

Organizations: Union of Public Employees

Geographic location: Southlands

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  • Snow Job
    April 07, 2014 - 18:53

    Were the plows redirected to Virginia Waters? I heard there were some important people walking those streets.

  • Guy Incognito
    April 07, 2014 - 18:35

    The mayor has been misinformed?? That's a polite way of saying that the mayor is once again full of crap. "DIverted Snowplow" O'keefe cannot admit that he is wrong.....

  • Yo mama
    April 07, 2014 - 16:59

    Banish all unions.

  • Gerry.
    April 07, 2014 - 13:52

    Most of the residents in St. John's know the snow clearing/removal program is. and has been, a pathetically ignoble representation of quality and efficiency for some time now. One cannot rely on excuses deemed attributable to its unique geological landscape, narrow streets, hills and the like. These factors should be a normal part of any long-range planning, quality control, monitoring and change management in any city's pro-active endeavours to improve the annual removal and disposal of snow from its streets and sidewalks. Judging by our experience in the Capital City one is left to assume such a plan does not exist. If it does, its efficacy is not reflected in the conditions we live with daily, from late December through April, as we attempt to manoeuvre our way through narrowed snow-clogged streets, snow-banked sidewalks, and pedestrian deathtraps. It's time for a much needed & significant paradigm shift at City Hall, a time for new thinking, sound planning and progressive action. If there is need for more and modern equipment, so should it be arranged, but first and foremost a thorough review of how things are being done now should be undertaken and a determination made by experienced planners as to what and how things can be improved for future Winters. I have lived in a half dozen provinces and several cities in Canada and nowhere can be compared with the poor quality and dismal effectiveness of what we experience in St. John's. The Winter weather here, under normal circumstances, is tantamount to consideration for hibernation; the snow clearing debacle makes it more a reality.

  • wavy
    April 07, 2014 - 12:30

    Ha! Well there you go. I wonder how I'd feel were I a resident of Southlands? People said they'd be forgotten when it came to city services, because Southlands is way the hell out on the outskirts, borders Goulds and Mt. Pearl, etc. and that's exactly what's happened here. I wonder would they have been forgotten if Southlands was designated Mt. Pearl territory? Not bloody likely. To borrow a quote from Danny Williams, they should be shot over there at St. John's city hall.

    • Sherry
      April 08, 2014 - 02:09

      Exactly right, southlands would not be forgotten if it were part of mount pearl. While mount pearl was out widening their streets, there were still streets in southlands not plowed......pathetic!!