Winnipeg city officials are urging residents not to call the 311 hotline on Wednesday night to report snow-covered streets that haven't been plowed yet, as they say crews are working on it.

Officials said in a release Wednesday that they know some residential streets have been missed, and inspectors are checking neighbourhoods where snow needs to be cleared.

"As plowing is still underway in areas across the city, residents are asked not to call 311 today to report unplowed streets, in order to help reduce call wait times," the release stated in part.

Snow zones

City plows at work Wednesday and Thursday:

  • Zone C: From 7 p.m. Wednesday until 7 a.m. Thursday

The city says people can still call 311 or check the Know Your Zone website to find out what snow zone they are in, or if they need to know the current snow-clearing schedule.

"Starting Thursday morning, after 7:00 a.m., when the current plowing operation is complete, residents will be able to make a 311 service request if a residential (P3) street or portion of a street was missed."

Meanwhile, many residents are still confused and frustrated with the city's new residential parking ban system.

Winnipeg used to have citywide overnight parking bans, but now the city is divided into snow zones, with each zone specifically being targeted for a 12-hour span.

If a vehicle is parked in a zone that is being plowed, it will get towed to a nearby street that has already been plowed or is out of the active zone.

People whose vehicles are towed are also supposed to get a $150 ticket, but officials said earlier this week that they would not ticket drivers for now, given public confusion over the new system.

Frustration remains over snow zones

Many homeowners are still scrambling to figure out what zone they're in, or running to avoid getting their vehicles towed from their streets.

"I did get an email this morning, at 7:09, from the City of Winnipeg," Elizabeth Schotchenko, who lives in the North End, said Wednesday.

"Does that mean people are supposed to get up at 6 [or] 6:30 to go on the internet to see [if it] is Zone A today?" she added. "Like, how do you know?"

Tow truck drivers say they're being greeted by flustered drivers who say they had no notice that snow plows were coming to their streets.

"When we come … [it's] like we dropped a bomb. They just run," said Ron Irving, a tow truck driver.

"It's the beacons on. They see the equipment, they see the snow machines, you know, and then they just book it."

In total, 774 vehicles were towed in the 24-hour period between 7 a.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday due to the new parking ban, according to the city.

Irving said he expected to move 30 vehicles in the North End on Wednesday alone.

Restaurant owners also worried

Meanwhile, some local restaurant owners say the new parking ban system is hurting business.

On Tuesday evening, the plows were in Zone G, around the Corydon and Crescentwood areas.

Michael Kesselman at the Grove Pub & Restaurant, at the corner of Stafford Street and Grosvenor Avenue, says half of the Grove's customers park on residential streets.

Those streets were right in the heart of Zone G, which meant there were very few places for customers to find a place to park. That left the typically-bustling pub nearly empty.

"People were saying. 'oh there's no parking, so were not coming down tonight,'" Kesselman said.

The owner of Orlando's Seafood Grill on Corydon Avenue said he, too, had customers cancel reservations on Tuesday because of the parking problem.

"They were on the elderly side and they didn't want to walk forever [from somewhere they could park]," Arnaldo Carreira said.

Todd Britton, who manages the Academy Lanes bowling alley, said in River Heights there are many residential areas bordering commercial ones, and the new snow zone system caused confusion Tuesday night.

"We had to make announcements to the customers that they had to move their cars and parking lots were also getting late being plowed so it was really difficult because there was nowhere for people to go," he said.

He, Carreira and Kesselman wants the city to rethink the system, such as starting the plowing later, at 10 p.m. or even midnight, rather than during prime business hours.

"Or [have] smaller areas getting plowed instead of, you know, so many streets from one area," said Kesselman.