The City Council took its first step to clear the path along Superior’s Safe Routes to School.

The council on Wednesday, April 7, approved purchasing a sidewalk snow-clearing vehicle from Prinoth Ltd of Granby, Quebec, Canada, for $175,469.

“It came in under budget,” Councilor Jenny Van Sickle said.

The council budgeted $250,000 for snow removal equipment in the capital improvement program last year. The city’s Public Works Committee started discussing a return to city-run sidewalk snow removal efforts in 2019.

Councilor Esther Dalbec introduced the idea, remembering the days when her husband worked for the city clearing sidewalks in the North End.

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The equipment will be used to clear about 26 miles of sidewalks using the city’s existing Safe Routes to School map as a guide. A new full-time position was created by eliminating three seasonal positions in the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to ensure staff availability to run the equipment.

“I just want to thank the Public Works Department, the committee and the council, parks for this commitment," Dalbec said. "It was expansive and collaborative, and it really does make a commitment to our Safe Routes to School being clear.”