Ensuring the safety of the Carleton University community is the number one priority of the university’s maintenance staff, even if this means a 2:00 a.m. start. Removing snow and ice from campus is a big job, but Kevin MacKay and his snow removal team get it done.
“Our efforts are put toward making the campus accessible and safe for faculty, staff and students,” says MacKay, the supervisor of architectural and grounds maintenance. “Getting people onto campus and making sure the primary pathways are cleared are our main concerns.”
MacKay and his team of seven, plus contract workers, start early in the morning, removing snow and ice from about six kilometres of sidewalks, seven kilometres of roads and 14 parking lots. While maintenance staff clear pathways, building entrances and sidewalks, contractors remove snow and ice from roads, entrances and parking lots.
Using human energy, salt and salt alternatives, several plows and other heavy-duty snow removal equipment, the team can generally clear campus in four to six hours.
Salt can be a great tool for deicing but too much of it can be harmful to the environment.
Kevin Gallinger, manager of maintenance services, points out that Carleton “minimizes the use of it by using a combination of salt and salt alternatives.” As he points out, however, it can be challenging to balance the costliness of salt alternatives with protection of the environment, and at the same time maintain a safe campus.
Both MacKay and Gallinger note the importance of the wellbeing of the entire community, which is why they encourage everyone to be responsible and conscious of the weather. Using primary pathways, driving slower and taking the tunnels ensures a healthier and happier campus.
“The snow and ice of winter can be dangerous,” MacKay says. “But maintenance staff are on call 24/7 to keep Carleton safe.”