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Million-dollar snowfall

January 22, 2009

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Okay, not quite—but the university spent nearly $1 million on snow and ice control at the Burnaby campus between Dec. 12/08 and Jan. 10/09.

"With a total accumulated snowfall of 240.7 cm (7.9 feet), this is the worst snowfall in years," says Sam Dahabieh, director of operations facilities. "Throughout the holiday period, our crews worked around the clock to keep snow at a manageable level."

Snow and ice-control expenditures have been climbing significantly over the past three years. In 2004-05 and 2005-06 expenses were less than $300,000. Costs—and snow—began mounting in 2006-07 when the university spent $496,000, then $751,600 the following year. By mid-January of this year, the 2008-09 figure stood at just over $932,000 for labour, equipment, salt and brine.

"Annual training, on-going equipment maintenance, the rising cost of materials, environmental monitoring and the unpredictable weather all contribute to our costs," says Dahabieh. "Snow and ice-control is the most costly component of our overall building and grounds operating budget."

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