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Crews doing the job differently, but municipal services continue to operate in Charlottetown, Summerside

Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services in Summerside, said city officials have been working hard to make sure services such as late winter snow removal get done while adhering to the chief public health officer’s order for social distancing.
Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services in Summerside, said city officials have been working hard to make sure services such as late winter snow removal get done while adhering to the chief public health officer’s order for social distancing.


Public works crews in Charlottetown and Summerside are doing their best to stay on top of work that needs to be done, all while doing it safely.

“The whole idea is to continue operations, but our role is to minimize potential contact with people as much as we can and still continue to operate the city,’’ Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services for the City of Summerside, said recently, when asked how the current coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) outbreak is affecting municipal operations.

“We’re still reacting and doing our snow removal and salting procedures on streets and sidewalks. That hasn’t changed.’’

However, the city is changing how it gets that work done.

Summerside operates with 13 unionized staff in the field, along with two superviser. Another seven employees run the water and sewer utility.

Gaudet said they’ve broken crews up into two-person teams to make sure social distancing requirements are adhered to.

Staff members who have contact with immunosuppressed individuals or those considered at risk are being told not to report to work unless they are needed on an emergency basis.

“We’ll use them sparingly, if we need to,’’ Gaudet said.

Workers at the wastewater treatment plant, which operates around the clock, have been split into two teams which alternate to keep things running.

CHARLOTTETOWN

Scott Adams
Scott Adams

Scott Adams, manager of public works for the City of Charlottetown, said they’re also trying to keep services operational while maintaining social distancing.

No more than one worker is permitted in the department’s vehicles, and the call centre will be reduced to one person.

“We’re still operating at public works, ensuring the roads are as pothole-free as they can be,’’ Adams said. “We’re still performing winter operations until the end of the season. We’re still ensuring things keep moving forward until we weather the storm that we’re faced with right now.’’

Staffers in the finance department are still reviewing tenders and getting them posted so things are ready to go when the time is right.

PROVINCIAL

Steven Yeo, the province’s chief engineer, said outside of filling potholes, road work can’t get underway until the asphalt plant opens, and that’s usually around the Victoria Day weekend in May.

“The current weather is too cold to begin road work,’’ Yeo said. “Each year, the department begins their work in May. Current weight restrictions on our roads also limit contractors from hauling loads that would be necessary for road work to take place.’’

Adams said it’s tough to say what this season might look like.

“Once we get out of this phase, what is that going to look like? After things start to return to normal, are we still going to have to ensure social distancing? There are so many unknowns right now. It’s hard to say when we’re going to get back to a regular routine, unfortunately."

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