Ah spring. As winter recedes and the days grow longer it is the time when a young man's fancy turns to, thoughts of the North American Snow Conference.
This year the American Public Works Association (APWA) is holding the conference at the Shaw Conference Centre (previously the Edmonton Convention Centre), located in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Guest rooms are being held at the Westin Hotel Edmonton located just a few blocks from the conference center and connected via the underground pedway system.
A welcome reception kicks off the conference at 5:00 p.m., Sunday, April 19. Hosted by the Alberta chapter of APWA/CPWA, the reception will take place on the exhibit floor among the over 70 companies exhibiting winter maintenance products and services.
Earlier that day three technical tours will be offered. The first tour will cover functional operating yards in both urban and rural settings (the city of Edmonton and Strathcona County). A tour of the new, state of the art permanent snow storage facility in Edmonton will also be included.
The second tour will visit a plant that manufactures and installs snowplows, v-plows and sander units.
The third tour will demonstrate snow equipment fitted with the global positioning system (GPS) and computerized closed loop spread control equipment, and snow plow equipment fitted with a locally invented power float system that significantly reduces blade wear.
The opening general session on Monday morning, will feature speaker Claire Martin, a meteorologist with CITV Television, Edmonton, who will discuss how a weather personality converts dry technical forecasting into something for the general public to consume.
Concurrent sessions will follow and run into the afternoon covering such topics as storm warning notification, snow insurance, privatization and contracting out and weather forecasting One session will discuss how the cities of Grand Forks and Winnipeg managed, and dealt with the heavy winter snowfall of 1997, and their efforts to control the raging flood waters which paralyzed these cities.
Another session will explore the relationship between street geometry and design and winter snow maintenance. How to design right-of-ways that are more practical as well as cost effective in terms of snow maintenance will be dealt with.
Afternoon roundtable discussions will focus on some of the most common snow and ice control activities. Some topics will be equipment versatility, snow route assignments, dealing with the media during disasters and conducting effective training.
One topic will cover spreading and plowing procedures. Participants will discuss the best practices for spreading and plowing based on weather conditions, form of precipitation, level of service, class of street and time of day.
On Tuesday morning the general session will consist of a roundtable follow-up. A representative from each roundtable discussion from Monday afternoon will share the issues discussed, highlighting the best ideas and practices that came from the discussion. This is a perfect opportunity to catch up on any roundtable you may have missed. A written summary of all roundtable discussions will be provided for all attendees.
The day's concurrent sessions will continue to deal with issues important to winter maintenance. Sessions will cover topics such as new and emerging technologies, like GPS, snow storage sites, sensible salting, dealing with difficult people and environmental issues.
One session will discuss the unique problem experienced by those who work on the edge of the Snow Belt. Uncertain weather conditions in these areas can make maintenance personnel's job difficult when winter arrives.
That evening, at 6:00 p.m., the 1998 Snow Celebration will take place. Cocktails and light entertainment will open the party, which will be followed by a banquet. The cost of the celebration is included in a full attendee registration.
On Wednesday the concurrent sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end by noon. Topics discussed will include community relations and outreach programs, risk management and how to use humor to manage stress. Winter survival techniques also will be discussed. Participants will learn how to stay mentally fit when stranded in winter weather, how to recognize signs of hypothermia and how to fix your car in case you are caught out in the cold.
For more information on the North American Snow Conference,. contact the APWA, PO Box 27-296, Kansas City, MO 64180-0296, or call 816/472-6100.