Now that the snow is here, it's time to unpack the shovel, rev up the snow blower, and prep the hot chocolate.

As folks get set to undertake shoving, shovelling, and shunting the snow off the sidewalk and driveway, it's important to remember the specifics of proper snow removal.

Mitch Minken, general manager of infrastructure and operations for the City of Swift Current, knows quite a bit about clearing snow, as he is the man in charge of ensuring the city streets get cleared each and every time it falls. His request for this year's winter season isn't for fancy presents or sleigh rides.

"We're kindly asking people not to put their snow on the streets or in ditches or parks or streets or lanes," Minken said. "It's to try to contain it onto your own property."

That would mean when shovelling snow, to not deposit it onto the street, but onto the front lawn of folks' individual residential property. Whether that's the snow from the sidewalk, the driveway, or from a walkway, by keeping it on their own property, they can help keep the workload down for city workers who already have miles of snow to clear off Swift Current's roadways.

On the topic of sidewalks, even if they are city-maintained the rest of the year, it's expected and required of folks to clear any snow on sidewalks adjacent to their homes.

"Any sidewalk abutting their property, unfortunately, is their responsibility to keep clear," confirmed Minken. "People have 24 hours after it stops snowing to place the snow on their own property."

For any businesses in town, it's required of them to arrange to either have the snow removed appropriately, or to have it piled on their property. By doing so, they help to keep their own space clear for their own operations, and again help avoid overburdening the city workers by not placing it in public parks or roadways.

So far this year, the snow clearing has been going well for the hard-working city employees who man the snow trucks.

"We'll be working in the downtown area this morning and tomorrow morning, working on cleaning up our collector streets over the next two days," shared Minken. "With the long weekend settling in, we're going to take a little bit of a break and then start again in earnest on Sunday night until we've done a full cleanup. So it's going to get everybody in game shape here right off the bat."

If you see a member of Minken's team clearing the snow this weekend, feel free to thank them for their early mornings and late nights during snow storms. Residents can help them by ensuring that they keep their share of snow on their property, helping to ensure they aren't overloaded with the winter workload.