The issue of working schedules and staffing levels for Huron County snow plow drivers has come into focus, as the winter driving season approaches.
Huron County Councillors accepted an $896 thousand bid from Team Truck Centres of Sarnia for a new tandem plow at their latest meeting.
County Engineer Steve Lund declined Councillor Jim Fergusson's suggestion that municipalities plow their own roads, in view of rising costs.
Councillor Neil Vincent says trained and qualified plow operators are difficult to find, and that not just anyone can step into the job.
Lund observes that finding enough qualified drivers has become more difficult in recent years, especially for weekend shifts.
Full-time operators work morning and evening shifts Monday through Saturday, while drivers on Sunday shifts are on the job part-time.
Lund adds that Sunday operators are on call when the weather is good.
He mentions that hours of work legislation and minimum maintenance of the machines have to be observed, when drawing up drivers' schedules.
Lund says all plow staff are called in during bad snowstorms.
County Warden Jim Ginn says adequate staffing of snow plows is a problem that needs a solution.