Above-normal temperatures this fall and winter, coupled with minimal snowfall, are putting a bit of a freeze on local businesses’ profits, particularly those that do snow removal.
Jeremy Gellmer, the general manager who helps oversee Rapid Lawn Landscaping said his company has shifted most of its budget away from snow removal over the last three years.
Rapid Lawn now plans for just 10 per cent of its finances and resources to go toward snow removal, while 90 per cent goes to summer landscaping work, he said.
“It used to be a 25-75 split,” Gellmer said.
Rapid Lawn only does commercial property snow removal.
As of Friday evening, Environment Canada forecasted that Regina temperatures would rise above 0 C for five of the next six days.
Gellmer said that so far through November and the first half December, his company has only been called to two jobs.
And those didn’t require a full fleet. “So far this year, we’ve had a couple of light snowfalls accompanied by some wind, where we would do maybe half a clean of what we’d normally do,” he said.
To turn even a small profit during the winter season, he said his crews need two regular or large snowfalls per month.
“The two times we’ve gone out this year, we’ve been about a half fleet,” rather than the regular amount of six or seven machines, Gellmer explained.
He said that Rapid Lawn is still financially stable, and that the company does plan and adjust its budget each year if it suspects winter work will be slow.
If the warmer winters continue over the next couple of years, it’ll be hard to rely solely on summer landscape work, he said.
But other companies in and around the city do take large financial hits when there’s little snow, he said.
Warm weather hasn’t been great for those into snow sports either.
Ron Blechinger is a trail groomer with the Regina Ski Club, laying tracks for cross-country skiers.
According to him, some of the trails are barely in shape while others are not ready at all.
He’d like to see eight to 10 inches of snow.
“We’re certainly one of the groups in the city that would appreciate it if just stayed in that zero to minus-10 range because when we get warm weather combined with bright sun and brisk wind, then we lose quite a bit of our snow,” Blechinger said.
“I’d say this is the third year in a row that we’ve had really light or thin snow, at least early in the season. This seems to be the norm, unfortunately.”