Public works under fire from town
Things may have been running less than optimum with the Town of Springhill's department of public works but they've been running nonetheless.
Town work crews were working steadily and around the clock again as more bad weather shut down schools and made road conditions perilous for motorists this week. The department, which has been under fire from the public, has been operating understaffed, with less than optimum equipment and juggling operational issues within the community.
Springhill - SPRINGHILL: Things may have been running less than optimum with the Town of Springhill's department of public works but they've been running nonetheless.
During last week's committee of the whole town engineer John Kelly and the public works department were praised for their work clearing streets during snowstorms, fixing water line breakages and maintaining services during what has been some of the department's toughest weeks to date. Equipment failures, unexpected headaches and the weather have battered the department but through it all work continues.
"With the amount of staff you have, poor equipment - you don't even have a place for your department to call home - as long as I'm a councilor until October of this year I'll do everything I can to find a permanent home for your department," Coun. Clarence Falconer said praising the department of public works.
Citizens have blasted the department for everything from the time of snow removal to sewage services, council heard on Thursday, as the department tries to keep the town running. Patience, Kelly said, is a commodity in high demand as his department tries to overcome its obstacles.
"Anyone's who's called our office I hope recognizes we're trying to solve issues, not create them," Kelly said.
Snow removal was a hot-button topic for council during the committee of the whole, with questions being raised about running a driver earlier in the day to the priority of streets receiving removal. An earlier driver, Kelly explained, would require a contract employee for those specific hours year round, which the department cannot afford nor justify, Kelly said.
A visibly upset Mayor Guy Brown gave Kelly's department fire for the number of calls he has received personally from friends and neighbours in his neighborhood near the Herrett Rd. Sidewalk conditions, street clearing, water pressure and the diversion of traffic into his neighborhood while repairs to a water main on McGee St. have kept his phone ringing off the hook, Mayor Brown said.
A broken sidewalk plow and ongoing work within the community, Kelly said, are amongst the issues his department has tackled while contending with the town's needs. Ongoing repairs and failing infrastructure are also prevalent issues.
"I have concerns. I think the employees are doing great work but I have concerns with the amount of information coming from the department," Brown said.
Council, however, did not share His Worship's opinions.
"As a community we're under construction," Coun. Dick Rector said. "I don't need to be informed when a truck has a flat tire or the sidewalk plough has a broken cog. They don't need to be micromanaged."
"I agree with Coun. Rector," Deputy Mayor Doug Dobson said. "If it's broke I know they're going to fix it."
Citizens, mayor and council were reminded by Chief Administrative Don Tabor, need to contact the appropriate department when they have issues and not council.
"Certainly no one is looking to take from the council or mayor but if we don't of the problem until we're sitting here it's not an affective process. There is policy in place."