Streets weren’t mistakenly missed in Southlands during last week’s snowstorm, claims the union representing St. John’s snowplow workers.
© — Telegram file photo
A resident of Southlands clears a driveway after last week’s heavy snowfall.
Canadian Union of Public Employees national representative Ed White said Monday St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe has been misinformed.
After last week’s storm, which enraged snowed-in residents in Southlands, O’Keefe apologized.
O’Keefe claimed crews did not plow a four-street section of Southlands because they were accidentally missed as plows hit the streets following the
40-centimetre dump April 1-2.
Southlands residents, however, said more than those streets were missed.
“The members of Local 569 are taking issue with some of the public statements that have been made about recent storm events and snowclearing,” 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.
The city is planning an independent review of its public works department’s snowclearing operations.
Local 569 president Terry Bennett said the union “cautiously” agrees with a review, but is concerned who or what has expertise to conduct such a review.
“Any review will be a waste of taxpayers’ money unless extensive consultation is undertaken with the men and women that operate the equipment for the city,” Bennett said.