Why some Calgary cemeteries get snow cleared faster than surrounding roads

Cemeteries cleared by the city's Parks business unit

City of Calgary snow clearing crews. COURTESY CITY NEWS BLOG

One Calgarian is raising questions about how the city is deploying its snow plowing resources, after seeing a cemetery cleared while the roads around it remained snow covered.

Michael Kwadrans said during two major snow events this season, he’s watched the city’s Parks Department clear the roads within St. Mary’s Cemetery off Macleod Trail, in Erlton.

“They had their fleet of pickup trucks with shovels that came out. And then they just went on their way, while all the roads that lead into the cemetery don’t get service,” said Kwadrans.

He said while the cemetery is cleared promptly, the roads around it remain snow covered for days.

“To me, it speaks to the situation where there’s no central authority clearing for the city itself,” he said, adding that he would like to see a better level of coordination between departments.

He joked that the dead are getting their roads cleared more quickly than the living.

Kwadrans flagged what he had noticed to his councillor, Ward 11’s Jeromy Farkas, in a tweet.

A spokeswoman for the city of Calgary said that city council voted earlier this year to move city-maintained pedestrian infrastructure to the top of the clearing priority list.

She also said that the Parks department clears roads in cemeteries when snowfall coincides with internment services, to ensure safe access to the grave site.

The city’s Roads department still uses its priority system to determine which roads get cleared first, and that’s why cemeteries could get cleared before the roads leading to them.

Blue sky, beautiful sunshine today, Calgary. Enjoy!

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