The City of Kenora has been hit with a major amount of snow this winter, 114 cm to be exact, and that has put crews into overdrive trying to maintain clearing services.

In Kenora when it comes to snow clearing, crews follow a priority mapping system that shows which roads get cleared first, second, and third, and how long after a storm they will be plowed.

Kevin Gannon, Director of Engineering and Infrastructure who is at the helm of snow clearing for the city, shared some insight on the city’s priority plowing system.

“A road classification dictates on how regular the road needs to be maintained and how much snow on the road before your standards are not being met, or to ensure the standards are being met,” Gannon said.

According to Ontario Regulations for Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways the roadway snow accumulation for each classification is as followed:


Class of Highway     Depth    Time

1                                 2.5 cm    4 hours

2                                 5 cm       6 hours

3                                 8 cm       12 hours

4                                 8 cm       16 hours

5                                 10 cm      24 hours

Gannon noted that when the snow does fall the city focuses on what they call their “main event”.

“The main event for us if the snow is falling, we are out there trying to take care of collectors and arterial roads, which are the main road system for the city that allow people to move in and out of the city,” Gannon added.

The main thoroughfares in Kenora are Lakeview Drive, Railway Street, Veterans Drive, Highway 17, and Airport Road to name a few.

Gannon adds that maintenance Standards set forth by the province require that crews clear specific roads, such as emergency and bus routes, accessible parking areas, and sidewalks, within a set period of time.

“If your road is indicated in red after the snow event is done our efforts are trying to get the priority one roads done in 12 to 16 hours.”

As per their priority system, priority two roads, which are outlined in blue, crews will do their efforts to clear the road in 24 hours following an event.

Priority three roads, which are in green will be cleared once priority one and two roads have been plowed.

Snow Clearing Picture Jan 20 (1).png

Gannon wanted to emphasize to residents the time frames listed on their map are for after the snow event, not during.

“During the snow event itself we’re trying to keep the main routes of transportation open, those are our collector and arterial [roads], which is not clearly stated in our policy, and we’ll be looking at putting some clarity in it when we redo it.”

If residents have any questions or concerns regarding the priority plowing system, Gannon urges people to reach out to the City of Kenora.

Though the city has experienced much more snow this winter than last, Gannon did confirm that the snow removal budget is in line with where it should be.

“We make a lot of effort to maintain the level with what’s expected through the policy, and then trying to fix little things that come up here and there without ensuring that it doesn’t go over the budgetary responsibilities.”

Currently, the city has four plow trucks, three graders, two sanders, and a number of pick-up trucks with plows attached to use for snow removal.

Gannon explained that different departments around the city have snow clearing equipment to keep up with removal in their designated areas.