White winter pushes Abbotsford snow costs over budget

The city spent $1.6 million on snow removal through the first two months of the year, about a half-million dollars over budget for the year.

Record levels of snow fell in Abbotsford in early February.

Record levels of snow fell in Abbotsford in early February.

A white winter unlike any seen in recent memory has already consumed Abbotsford’s entire snow-removal budget for 2017.

The city spent $1.6 million on snow removal through the first two months of the year. That’s about a half-million dollars over budget for the year.

City expenditures on snow removal have varied widely with the weather in recent years.

Last year, the city spent about $150,000 more than budgeted on snow removal, thanks to December’s heavy snowfalls.

Through the three years prior, though, the city pocketed the majority of money allocated to snow removal, with nearly $2 million between 2013 and 2015 of snow- removal money going unused and back into reserves. The city will now dip into those reserves to pay for the spike in 2017 snow costs.

This winter has been the snowiest in 35 years, and seventh-whitest ever recorded here, with 131 centimetres falling in December, January and February.

The winter weather could also put a strain on the city’s road maintenance budget, with potholes proliferating thanks to freezing and thawing conditions. A report on the winter’s impact on the city’s road budget is expected in the “near future,” according to staff.