Q&A with Brent Potter, Superintendent of the Town of Spirit River Public Works

Brent Potter

When do you usually start plowing the streets?
Whenever possible, we usually wait until it quits snowing.

What is your plan of attack when it comes to what streets/areas to plow first?
We start with emergency routes first – hospital, ambulance, seniors lodging, fire hall, main street, and the airport. Then we complete downhill road/streets and schools and then the remainder of the town.

If we are experiencing a very snowy winter, is there a specific area where you can pile snow so it won’t interfere with spring run-off?
We roll the snow whenever possible for efficiency, and whenever not possible, we carry it out usually to the empty railway property on 47-48 Avenue.

Does a snow plow have blind spots?
Yes. Whenever a vehicle is driving behind too close, we usually can’t see all of the vehicle.

What should people do when approaching a snow plow on city streets?
We ask drivers to take an alternate route or slow down and stay far enough behind until we are finished conducting the work.

Is maneuvering a plow easy or difficult? What do you have to pay attention to when operating a plow?
It has its challenges. With experience it gets easier. We always have to pay attention for pedestrians, properties, parked vehicles and traffic.

There are only four of you at public works. How long does it sometimes take before all the snow is cleared?
With ideal conditions, it usually takes three full days.

How many pieces of equipment does it take to do the job?
Four – grader, loader, backhoe and sander.

The Town of Spirit River is unique in clearing the front of driveways. Has this always been the case?
We have been doing this for, at least, 20 years.

If people push the snow from their property onto the street, does it make it more difficult for you to clear the street?
It depends on whether the snow pile is being driven over constantly before we can clean that street as it compacts the pile. If the snow is pushed onto the street after the streets have been cleaned, then it usually remains there until the next snow fall. However, property owners aren’t actually allowed to push snow onto the streets.

Are you ever thanked for doing a good job?
Quite often. It’s nice to hear when you’ve been quite busy and/or working a long day.


  • Phone: (780) 864-0126
  • E-mail: srwtp@townofspiritriver.ca