It's been a bit of a slow start, but snow clearing efforts in Estevan have begun as the first day of winter approaches.

Roads and Drainage Manager with the City of Estevan Norm Mack said the snow clearing program is still in its early stages with only a couple of snowfalls so far this fall.

"We've had graders just tidying up and cleaning up, but we haven't had a whole lot of accumulation to go into a full scale operation of snow removal, so it is saving us some money," Mack said.

With the fiscal year set to conclude at the end of December, Mack said the city's snow clearing program is slightly overbudget for 2022, due in large part to the massive snow storm that walloped Estevan last April just prior to Easter.

"So far this fall and winter, November and December, we've spent very little. It's just daytime operations with no overtime," Mack said. "Looking at the long forecast here, it looks like we should be okay with not a whole bunch of expenditures."

"But we're at the mercy of mother nature, so you never know what's in store for us."

Mack said the priority right now is centered around ice, not snow.

"You'll see our sanders out early in the mornings prepping the streets," he said.

Local snow clearing crews often leave windrows of snow and ice in the middle of major streets in Estevan. Mack explained the reasoning behind this.

"The windrows in the middle are there for a purpose...the blowers are going to be coming shortly after we put the windrows up to blow them directly in the truck and haul them away," Mack said. "Friday we left the windrows there because it didn't warrant the overtime on the weekend. Snow removal can be very expensive, so we left them there until Monday and took them off Monday."

Mack added that there are about 12 city staff who are assigned to snow removal, and that the city has three trucks, two graders, and two blowers. If there's a major snow storm, the city will call in contractors to have more manpower and equipment.