Photo: Emcon Services Inc.
“You’ll never make everyone happy all the time.”
That’s the sentiment of Dustin Khadikin, vice president of operations for British Columbia at Emcon Services, the parent company of AEL, the contractor hired by the City of West Kelowna for snow and ice control. .
However, he defends the hard work of his pilots under unusual circumstances.
He points out that they had to cope with the aggravating challenges of heavy snowfall and unusually cold temperatures.
“From December 15th to the end of the month, I think all but three days had snow, whether it was a trail or larger stuff. Then, from January 1-6, every day there was measurable snowfall at the weather station closest to West Kelowna.
He said the snow on the ground is likely equivalent to the combined total of what has fallen over the previous two years.
AEL has a five year road maintenance contract with the City of West Kelowna. This is a fixed rate contract, cost overruns related to heavy snowfall are therefore the responsibility of AEL.
“Without a doubt, we will be over budget this winter,” Khadikin said.
They added a few pieces of equipment to their fleet a few years ago and will bring in additional private contractors under extreme circumstances.
He told Castanet that some of the comments he sees on social media from people unhappy with the condition of their streets are concerning, especially considering that most of their drivers live in the community.
“You go through social media and you see the comments, and they’re not necessarily education-based, they’re assumptions. He’s seen it all, from suggestions the company has been hit by a COVID-19 outbreak to speculation that staff members have quit because they are underpaid. Both of these assumptions are incorrect, he adds.
“It just seems like year after year some people get a little almost personal with their comments.”
A Extreme winter weather advisory was issued by the City of West Kelowna, and crews continue to work to get to all Priority 3 streets. If your street has not seen a plow or travel remains difficult 48 hours after the last snowfall, call the city.