Winter is just the start of silly season

This week's column looks at the crazy winter weather.

The end of October usually brings with it the early vestiges of winter such as cooler temperatures, frost on windshields, snow and sometimes turning on the heat and air conditioner in the same day this is Alberta you know.

However this year, Halloween kicks off another season of silliness, as municipal politicians, school trustees and those that aspire to be one gear up for 12 months of wheeling, dealing, cajoling and otherwise performing for the mass electorate.

For much of the province, it likely isn’t going to be as gruesome as the circus tent atmosphere much of 2016 has been south of the 49th parallel, nor will it be as far-fetched as the media insanity that gripped Toronto during its last mayoral election.

What will it be like you ask? Well, that depends on where you live.

In the provincial capital, there are many on council that are being pinned to a wall over delays, cost concerns and troubles with their light rail transit. That council is also being attacked for its ‘hands-off’ approach to photo radar enforcement and land use planning.

At the other end of the scale, the big cowboy hat wearing mayor and his council aren’t in much pain since most of the blame for Calgary’s situation is being put on the economy and the provincial government.

Locally, there doesn’t seem to be too much excitement about any potential race in the county yet, although there remains grumbling over what some regard as bumbling on the issues surrounding the fire service.

Where things seem to be gaining steam on both the angry voter and need for a change front is in town with the subjects of the new bridge, the potential repurposing of the former hospital, the recreation master plan along with the funding and operations of some departments raising the ire among some residents.

However, it has yet to be seen if all of that concern and anger will translate into people actually running for the mayor’s chair or to unseat some councillors.

Slippery slopes

And yes, when the snow finally arrives and sticks around, the silliness that surrounds driving on Alberta’s roads and highways during the season will once again rise up and bite people’s bumpers.

It never fails to happen people wait too long to get their winter tires on or can’t seem to make the needed adjustments to their driving patterns and then complain when they either wind up in need of a tow or hit the body shop.

To be fair, not every driver is guilty of being a silly winter road warrior, but all it takes is one to really ‘make’ your day and force you to contemplate moving to warmer climbs for the next few months.

With the region getting dumped on in early October, to their credit many drivers rushed out to put on their winter tires and winterize the vehicle.

The little bit of snow and ice that was on the roads for that brief period did cause a few collisions and basically kept people off the roads. However, that only solidified people’s summer driving habits until the snow really sticks and that will certainly result in more accidents.

What can be done to change that? Well, if you haven’t yet gotten winter (and yes, all-season and all-weather will not suffice for Alberta driving conditions) tires on, that should be first on your list. Followed quickly (or at the same time) by having it checked over and winterized then learning to slow down, drive to the conditions and for crying out loud keep your windshield and windows clear of snow, ice, frost and moisture so you can see.

But that is…just an observation.


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