It's time for a good old fashioned examination of assumptions. Why on earth do we choose to leave gravel and dirt on our roads at this time of year? It is absolutely gross. There is dirt EVERYWHERE in this town right now.
Yes, I understand that we have to put the gravel down in the wintertime because it's too cold here to use salt on our roads. I get that. But now the snow is off our roads. Only the gravel remains. Why?
Is it that we're afraid we might have another snowfall? If we did, 90% of the gravel out there would be useless. It's all on the shoulders and in the middle of the road. Nobody drives there. If we have a snowfall, the gravel trucks will come out again.
Is it that street sweepers are blunt instruments that aren't capable of clearing gravel off straightaways while leaving it within 100 feet of intersections and on dangerous turns? If that's the case, I'm cashing in all my savings and starting a street sweeper company - because that's just friggin ridiculous.
Are street sweepers too delicate to handle a bit of ice? Maybe so. In most cities I'm guessing they don't have to deal with hundreds of tons of gravel either. Well, maybe we shouldn't be using conventional street sweepers. Isn't there something else out there with a big rotating brush on the front that scoops up gravel? Yes. I know there is because I saw one on TV a few weeks ago. Let's get one of those.
Is it that we're so cost-conscious that we'd rather pick up all the gravel at once? Once we're 100% certain we won't be laying any more down? No. We are not cost-conscious. City Hall is not afraid to raise taxes. I won't go on about this fact - I think we all understand this by now.
Even if that is the argument. I think a lot of people would elect to spend more on street sweeping in exchange for being able to enjoy what could and should be our second best season. I certainly would. And besides, it's a mistake to assume that doing a better job is necessarily more expensive. I have a good friend who is a business improvement consultant. He goes around to mines and points out ways they can improve productivity, efficiency, etc. Some of his recommendations should probably be obvious to mine managers but they're often immersed in a culture of status quo. Their assumptions blind them. I wonder what he would say about this situation.
I don't know if this is true, but I've always had the impression that City Hall isn't nimble enough to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. Consider this hypothetical situation: pretend that you're the head of whichever department is responsible for street sweeping. You scheduled all your street sweeping crews for May because that's when the snow is sure to be gone, but then you get hit with ten days straight of plus fifteen in April. All the snow is gone. All the gravel and dust remains. Can you change your schedule to get the gravel off the ground ahead of time?
I know the answer is no because out my front window right now I see no snow on the street, only gravel. It's been like that for a week. And guess what? It will still be like that next week.
I have to wrap this up for now. I'll leave you with this: what if one hundred Yellowknifers were to grab brooms and wheelbarrows from their garages and descend on Franklin Avenue at a pre-arranged time and sweep up all this nonsense? How long do you think it would take us to make our main street spotless? Half an hour, I bet. The harder part would be wheeling all the gravel over to the City Hall parking lot. That would be tiring.
Wouldn't that be fun, though? And what a great use of social media. Who's in? Seriously. If ten people respond to this I'll start a facebook page.
I am sick and tired of breathing this **** in all the time. I know it doesn't have to be this way.
Sorry to my friends at City Hall if this seemed unnecessarily harsh. But you have to admit, this town is way too dusty. If you were a mouth-breather like me, maybe you would understand.
Re: my street-sweeping demonstration proposal, maybe we can just arrange to have the gravel and dust picked up by the City. That's probably a bit more civilized.
Update: Here we go - problem solved: https://www.elginsweeper.com/pdf/WaterlessPelican_SellSheet.pdf