Minto enhances winter control operations

The Town of Minto is making changes to improve the efficiency of  its winter control operations.

In a report to council on Sept. 5, Minto roads foreman Mike McIsaac explained the town currently employs 13 full- and part-time staff using 12 pieces of equipment to provide snow plowing, sanding and other winter services.
Employees currently work from 3am to 1pm, with an additional employees working from 5:30 to 7pm to cover Wellington Roads 2 and 3 under a maintenance agreement with the County of Wellington.
McIsaac’s report presented a staff proposal to add a second shift, from 2 to 10:30pm on weekdays. The first shift would be 3 to 11:30am and weekends would be patrolled with staff called in as required once daily from 3 to 11:30 a.m.
The proposal would see 14 full and part-time staff operating 13 pieces of equipment.
McIsaac explained the change would address one of the historical complaints about winter operation: “a lack of attention to rural roads later in the afternoon.”
He said the move would allow the town to extend operator presence during weekdays to rural areas.
“This has become more apparent over the years with the changing lifestyle of the general public,” McIsaac stated.
“In rural areas there is consistent pressure for a higher level of service, particularly later in the afternoon and evening.”
McIsaac’s report noted two staff members on the second shift would operate the town’s two tandem plow trucks to service rural hardtop roads only, and that new routes have been developed with urban snow removal continuing as per current procedures.
“The changes in the hours would actually extend our staff presence from the existing 14 hours a day to 21 hours a day,” said McIsaac. “With these changes, we would be optimizing the use of our equipment.”
McIsaac said the move would not mean increasing the winter control budget, currently set at $480,000, as costs for the additional scheduled shift could be offset by a reduced need for overtime.
 Council approved a move to the new system for 2017-18, after which staff will report back on the results.