Did you know that Amherst has 73 kilometres of streets? Or 36 kilometres of sidewalks? Or 40 kilometres of storm sewer lines?
The folks at the Town of Amherst’s Operations Department do. And they work hard year-round to ensure these important pieces of infrastructure function properly.
But taking care of the streets, sidewalks and storm sewers isn’t all they do.
The nine non-union, 18 full-time unionized and 11 seasonal unionized workers are also responsible for building inspections, keeping our recreational facilities – the parks, stadium and Robb Centennial Complex – maintained and operating, investigating dangerous and unsightly premises and maintaining town-owned facilities such as town hall, the library and the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre.
In addition, they manage and maintain the town’s water utility, which includes the North Tyndal wellfield that was established in 1993, 113 kilometers of water mains, 3,391 water meters, a four-million-gallon reservoir, 400 fire hydrants and a 500-gallon reservoir.
Managing the town’s sanitary sewers and waste water treatment facility, located off Laplanche street near Fort Lawrence, also falls under the department’s purview.
The department, which has an operating budget of about, $7 million, is also responsible for all capital infrastructure planning, which includes engineering and mapping, and ensuring our solid waste is collected and disposed of properly.
In order to carry out the work they do, the department has a fleet of equipment that includes three loaders, five dump trucks, two backhoes (the workhorses of the department), four “trackless” attachment machines that are used to clear and sweep sidewalks as well as mow grass, 20 trucks (including two salt trucks), two cars, a street sweeper, a hot-asphalt patching machine.
“Our mandate is to keep the infrastructure of the Town of Amherst functioning,” Jason MacDonald, the town’s deputy-CAO and operations department director, said. “We are fortunate that we have and have had councils that supported us, through the purchase of equipment, to meet this goal.
“We are also fortunate that we have a dedicated, experienced, hard-working staff whose primary goal is ensuring that our infrastructure is the best it can be and that Amherst is agreat place to live, work and play.”
The department’s Community Well-Being Division is responsible for working with stakeholders and citizens to create an inclusive, welcoming community where people feel safe to live, work and play.
There are four staff members working in this division who work to provide a variety of services and events for the public. These employees focus on working with the community to create inclusivity, increase economic well-being, improve physical and mental health, create community pride and share the story of Amherst’s history and culture while continuing to offer active-living events and opportunities.
Staff in this division offer a variety of town-hosted, family first events like Canada Day on July 1, the Christmas Parade and Light Up and the Winter Carnival. They also work with community partners to offer a wide variety of community events, such as the Biker Bash and Fibre Arts Festival.
In addition, these staff members work to offer events that attract tourists and shoppers to Amherst’s many businesses.