Belated blast of winter keeps Town’s road crews busy

April 23, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

First it was ice pellets, then freezing rain, heavy rain, then snow.

It hasn’t been the best start for the spring season this year but weather reports now point to warmer, more seasonable weather over the coming week.

The freezing rain came as no surprise as Environment Canada put out the warning several days before the system moved across Southern Ontario.

Once the ice started covering roads a request went out from police departments across the province for people not to go out driving unless necessary.

Many events were either canceled or postponed. Sports events were called off and university and college students around the province have had final exams delayed.

The final snowfall on Sunday delivered an extra blanket of the white stuff on the already frozen ground but when Monday’s temperatures rose above freezing it turned into one big sloppy mess.

Town of Orangeville crews were out on the streets clearing major arteries and side streets and they did a really good job considering they didn’t have the full strength crew they have during the winter months.

“We have all four of our snow plows out and two sidewalk machines,” Doug Jones, Town of Orangeville director of public works, said Monday. “We were back out this morning at 4:00 a.m. We prioritize – we do the main roads first. Sometimes we have to go back two or three times. Yesterday we got to every road in town. We did have a problem with people parking on the streets and the timing of the event and the nature of the event made it difficult.”

Town by-laws state there is no parking on town streets between 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. during the winter months so snow plows can clear the streets, however that rule ended on March 31. On Monday, vehicles were seen on side streets with snow piled around them where the plows had passed by.

March 31 also saw the end of seasonal employees who are used through the winter to help out with a heavy workload, so the existing crew had to battle through the unseasonable weekend on their own. They get started at 4:00 a.m. to get as much cleared away before most people are on the street.

Considering the amount of damage done the last time an ice storm blanketed the region, this storm did very little by comparison.

“We had a few branches to clean up, but other than that there was no real damage,” Jones said of what his crew found on their travels around town.

Because of the large amount of melting snow and ice, local conservation areas have posted flood warnings for several regions.

Credit Valley Conservation advised that water levels on rivers and tributaries have risen and are expected to keep rising as the snow melts.

As a result, they are warning people to exercise extreme caution around all bodies of water and avoid them if possible. River banks are icy and slippery and pose a serious hazard. People are encouraged to keep children and pets away from all watercourse and off frozen water bodies in the region.

The Authority will issue updates on the situation as water levels rise.

Among the many cancellations caused by the storm were massed choir presentations set for Alliston Saturday night and Orangeville Sunday afternoon.

The performances by the Amaranth Chamber Choir, Dufferin Concert Singers and New Tecumseh Singers, which include an apparent Canadian premiere of Requiem for the Living by American composer Dan Forrest, will take place this weekend. The concerts will now be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Alliston’s Grace Baptist Church and Sunday afternoon at 3:30 at Orangeville’s Westminster United Church.

Although both concerts were almost sold out, some tickets may be available at the door.

And because of the storm, Earth Week got extended in Orangeville.

Earth Week events are continuing this week, with two tree plantings postponed due to snow and ice conditions. Residents are encouraged to enjoy the free activities co-ordinated by the Orangeville Sustainability Action Team and to take note of the revised dates.

The annual Baby Tree Forest Dedication has been rescheduled to April 29 at 2 p.m. A “forest” will be planted for sponsored babies born in 2017 at Parkinson Crescent Park (90 Parkinson Crescent).

The Earth Week tree planting has been rescheduled to May 5. Park at Broadway Pentecostal Church, 556 Broadway, 9 a.m. A free barbecue is sponsored by the Orangeville Rotary Club and Montgomery Chartwell Seniors Residence.

Earth Week displays (during regular business hours) are at the Alder Street Recreation Centre (275 Alder Street), Edelbrock Centre (30 Centre Street), and Orangeville Public Library (1 Mill Street) from April 16-20. A book, CD, DVD, video and magazine exchange will take place throughout this time at the Edelbrock Centre. Bring in any unwanted items and pick up ones you may wish to enjoy.

A Book Reading and Book Donation with Councillor Sylvia Bradley is scheduled for today (April 19) at the Orangeville Public Library, Mill Street Branch, from 10:15 to 11 a.m.

Spring into Orangeville on Friday (April 20) with a gentle guided hike with Mark Whitcombe of the Upper Credit Field Naturalists. Learn the benefits of experiencing Orangeville’s natural areas and trails. Meet at 1:30 p.m. in the lobby at the Alder Recreation Centre and hike until 3 p.m.

The annual “Clean Sweep” will be held downtown on April 21 at 9:45 a.m. The Farmers’ Market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside Town Hall.

On April 23, the Environmental Sustainability Award recipients will be announced at Orangeville Council at 7 p.m. at 87 Broadway. The Environmental Sustainability Awards are presented by Orangeville Council on an annual basis to recognize those who have made a positive contribution to the environmental health of our community.

An Earth Week display will be at Town Hall during regular business hours from April 23-30, along with a book, CD, DVD, video and magazine exchange.

For more information on Earth Week activities, contact 519-940-9092 or email .

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