The city should raise taxes to pay for enhanced snow removal instead of turning to insurers, an insurance industry spokesperson told Metro.
That’s why insurance providers won’t be coming to the table to discuss contributions to the city’s snow removal, according to Jeff Haley, government affairs manager for the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Edmonton office.
This comes on the heels of aldermen yesterday approving a future administration report outlining discussions with the industry, courtesy of a notice of motion from Ald. John Mar.
But, according to Haley, there’s no chance that will happen. He said the industry believes it’s the city’s responsibility to manage snow removal, and that if Calgary needs more money, taxes should be raised.
“It sounds like what they’re trying to do is offload that responsibility because they don’t want to increase taxes,” said Haley, adding that he wasn’t certain there would be any cost benefit for insurers with this approach.
“It’s not something we’re interested in.”
Meanwhile, aldermen approved two other notices of motion to address the fallout after last week’s snowstorm that left homeowners stranded, commuters in peril — if they could even get their cars out from the snow — and the winter resolve of Calgarians tested.
Immediately, $2 million will be taken from the Fiscal Sustainability Reserve to ensure adequate snow clearing and removal in non priority-one areas for the remainder of 2009, if there is another major snowfall.
There was also $1 million allotted for one piece of clearing equipment in each of the city’s nine clearing zones, specifically for residential areas.
“People want something done — and I think this is a start,” said Ald. Ray Jones, author of the notice motion.
“Hopefully, we will … address (snow removal) eventually and add something more to this budget.”
Council also approved a look into 25 kilometres of strategic snow fencing, via Ald. Ric McIver’s motion. A report is expected back prior to mill rate adjustment and could cost up to $500,000.