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Mild winter saves Guelph roughly half a million bucks so far

Budget about 30 per cent spent, most years would be 45 per cent gone by now, says GM of operations
City of Guelph's snow plow. Supplied photo

Given the relatively mild weather Guelph saw this winter, city crews didn’t need to hit the streets as often as they typically would. As a result, the city’s currently on track to see a surplus in its snow-clearing budget at the end of the year.

“Although we haven’t done plow-outs as often, we have had to address slippery conditions both on sidewalks and roads, bridges and that sort of thing,” said Doug Godfrey, the city’s general manager of operations.  “While there hasn’t been much snow accumulation, there have been freezing conditions, light flurries of rain and stuff like that.”

A milder winter was anticipated, noted Godfrey. It’s why this year’s snow-clearing budget was reduced to $4.6 million from $4.7 million in 2023, along with a 50 per cent cut in spending on salt, sand and other materials applied to wintry roads.

The budget for those materials dipped to $654,000 from $1.02 million, which is included in the $4.6 million.

“We did have the material costs go up, but the amount of materials we used went down,” the GM added.

Godfrey noted the city has used about 30 per cent of its snow clearing budget at this point in the year. Typically, it would have used closer to 45 per cent by now.

Of course, it’s possible snow-clearing could still be needed this spring, and snow often begins to fall in the latter months of the year, before the calendar turns to 2025.

“Since January we have not been removing as much snow,” Godfrey said, noting the exceptions to that have been the downtown core and bike lanes. “The warmer weather has reduced that.”

There are benefits beyond budgetary savings, Godfrey noted. Street sweepers are making the rounds about four weeks earlier than usual, which means a ripple effect for public works crews as they shift duties through the progression of the seasons.


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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