Winter Road Maintenance – Winter road maintenance (snow clearing) is a dual process within the Organized Hamlet of Crystal Lake (OH). The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (MHI) is responsible for its portion consisting of the access road from Number 9 Highway and a portion of Lakeview Drive around the south end of the lake (ending near 48 Lakeview Dr). The Crystal Lake Hamlet Board (HB) is responsible for the remainder of Lakeview Drive and all the interior roads within the OH.
The MHI maintains its portion of the road with highway-based snow clearing equipment at no charge to the OH. This section of road is very well maintained due to the frequency of clearing and the quality of equipment. For practical reasons the highways portion of Lakeview Drive is often cleared up to the junction with the Tadmore access road. Unfortunately, a request for Highways to maintain all of Lakeview Drive was declined.
The remainder of Lakeview Drive and all the internal roads are the responsibility of the Organized Hamlet. The HB has budgeted approximately $9000.00 annually for all road maintenance; this includes repairs, gravel, dust control and snow removal. Annual expenditures in 2018 and 2019 met or slightly exceeded the budgeted amount.
Snow removal in the OH is conducted by a local farmer under contract. The equipment used is a large tractor and front-mounted blade. Unfortunately, this equipment is not capable of maintaining the road to the same standard as the MHI equipment.
Road conditions in the winter of 2019/20 were problematic; early in the winter rain created very icy conditions and MHI sanding equipment was brought in. Then, frequent minor snowfalls allowed for the creation of a thick layer of packed snow and ice. When spring came this packed snow softened and then froze allowing ruts to form. The RM grader was brought in to remove this buildup. This machine was not entirely suitable for clearing a paved road as the cleats caused some damage.
In light of the less than satisfactory road condition last winter, the HB will be increasing its road maintenance budget and improving its snow clearing practices. The local operator has been very good at responding when needed and will be retained for the following winter. The frequency of road clearing will be increased with a properly equipped grader brought in to deal with major snowfalls or packed snow/ice. As well, arrangements will be made for sanding equipment to be brought in as needed.
Hamlet Board member Brad Tokaruk (306-540-4257) will remain as the contact regarding snow removal. The HB is looking forward to better road conditions this winter.