Winnipeg reports massive drop in snow-clearing damage claims

With less snow, comes far fewer claims of damage as a result of snow-clearing efforts in the city, and while the snowy season isn’t over yet, one Winnipeg city councillor says the lower figure may save the city cash. Morgan Modjeski reports.

The snowy season is far from over, but when it comes to reports of damage due to municipal snow-clearing efforts, the City of Winnipeg is seeing a sizeable reduction. 

“Last night I was talking to a contractor who has been working in the city for 30 years and he said he’s never seen a winter like this,” said Councillor Janice Lukes. “We’re saving a bunch of money, that’s went through my head right off the bat.” 

To date in 2023-24, the City has received 61 claims of property damage and three claims of vehicle damage as a result of snow-clearing efforts in the city, a drop of more than 85 per cent when compared to last year.

Generally speaking, the City has seen fewer snow-clearing operations this year than in past seasons, but Lukes, who chairs the City’s public work committees, is seeing the lower number as a positive, saying it may help address a more than $4 million over-expenditure on the City’s snow clearing budget for 2023. 

“It is separate, but yet, they are intertwined.” 

Councillor Lukes says while numbers so far are down she’s still encouraging members of the public to report any damage they see caused during snow-clearing efforts, as the job navigating such massive pieces of equipment is not easy, and accidents do happen, the reports help the city improve the service. 

“We do have supervisors that oversee the individual contractors and city staff, to ensure that they’re doing a good job. We are always seeking accountability. So it always help — more eyes on the street — more eyes helping,” explained Lukes. 

Experts with Environment and Climate Change Canada say the lower reports of collisions with snow-clearing equipment in the city is not surprising, as Southern Manitoba has seen one of its hottest, driest winter seasons on record. 

“We certainly haven’t been shovelling quite as much,” said Natalie Hasell, National Forecaster. 

Despite the recent streak of snow, Hasell says when it comes to precipitation, Winnipeg has only seen a portion of its usual winter dose, as so far only the liquid equivalent of 21.3 ml of the usual 55.2 millilitres that usually hits over the months of December, January February has fallen.

“So we are at 39 per cent of the precipitation for that three month period, for Winnipeg, it’s the fifth driest December, January, February-period over 150 years of data.” 

If you do experience damage as a result of snow-clearing efforts, you are encouraged to file a claim with MPI and notify 311.  

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