When going to work is a snow day
It’s the middle of a picturesque Monday afternoon in Kamloops and Wayne Lockhart is busy at the controls of his snowplow truck.
Using what could only best be described as an old Atari joystick, he guides his articulating plow to send the snow beneath his vehicle and to the side.
The equipment operator for the city is carefully putting the finishing touches on a cul-de-sac in the Guerin Estates neighbourhood.
When Lockhart is satisfied he’s done all he can do for the road, he makes sure the mouth of the intersection is free of snow before moving on.
“You’ve got to make sure you care about what you’re doing or it won’t look good,” he said.
The winter storm a day earlier means Lockhart and his crew will be put through their paces clearing the city’s streets of the white stuff for next few days.
About a month’s worth of snow (12 centimetres) fell on one day in Kamloops.
It’s the city’s intention to have all snow cleared from the streets within three days by a crew working around the clock in eight different zones around town.
Armed with as much as six tons of a sand mixture in the back of his truck, Lockhart is responsible for the downtown and west end of the city — likely the trickiest route given the narrow and steep roads there.
It’s also garbage pick-up day, so he can’t push the snow as close to the curb as he would like.
Though snow removal can be a touchy subject for some Kamloops residents, Lockhart said the biggest complaint tends to be windrows in front of driveways.
He said there isn’t much the city can do unless it gets new equipment.
“Unfortunately, I have to shovel my driveway, too,” Lockhart said.
Lockhart has meticulously mapped out the roads he’s cleaned and the ones left on his route.
Around and around the block he drives, pushing the snow aside as he drops his load of sand over top — constantly looking at his mirrors for people or cars.
Lockhart, who will be out filling potholes once the snow is gone, admits the repetitiveness can be tedious at times, but he doesn’t mind.
“I think it’s fun,” the 33-year-old said.
“That’s why I do it.”
Having cleared countless roads and streets, Lockhart finishes his shift and heads back to the public-works yard, where another crew member is waiting to take over the route and repeat the process.