Sunday, during our first major snowfall of the season, it was brought to my attention that the city of Havre was responding to phone calls about snow removal and the hospital hill being closed by saying, “Well, we aren’t going to do anything until it stops snowing.” This statement completely baffled me. Having lived in Havre most of my life, I know what an average Montana winter can entail.
Unlike other communities or states that would simply declare a natural disaster with the conditions we live in, Havre’s small community usually goes right on running without missing a beat. The below-zero wind chills and inches of snow the community sometimes faces rarely slows it down.
As parents, we bundle our children up and send them off to school. As employees, we brush the snow and ice off our cars, leave a little earlier and go to work. Why are we able to do this? Because, in the past, the issue of snow removal was addressed as it occurred. If we had waited until the snow stopped, we would have faced quite a few more obstacles while attempting to achieve these tasks. I realize it would be more convenient if it only snowed Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, but that certainly isn’t the Montana I was raised in. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our community does not stop living because winter has hit so, therefore, the city not maintaining the roads until the snow stops is unacceptable.
Safety in our community should be the number-one priority. I realize to some members of this community it makes more sense, to spend the limited amount of funding the city has available, on repeatedly rebuilding the courthouse stairs when in reality the money could be used for more practical services in the community. Not once while I drove around Havre yesterday did I see a sanded street or street corner. I did however see people sliding all over the streets and a four-wheel drive Jeep that was unable to get up an icy hill. Most people in this day and age are aware of the benefits associated with prevention. Doctors don’t wait to treat a bleeding trauma patient until the bleeding stops nor do they wait until a patient has a heart attack to treat their heart disease. The lack of prevention that the city showed, by not addressing the issue of our first snowfall properly, was an injustice to the citizens of the community.
If there was a more logical reason for the city to wait for the snowfall to stop before they began its removal that I somehow missed, please excuse my letter. There are always two sides to every story. On the other hand, if you are like me and completely baffled by the whole situation, please feel free to voice your thoughts.