British Columbia

City of Vancouver preps for winter — and so should you

Homeowners are expected to clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10 a.m. every day.

Homeowners expected to clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10 a.m. every day

Property owners are reminded to clear snow and ice from sidewalks by 10 a.m. or face fines up to $2,000. (City of Vancouver)

The City of Vancouver has rolled out its weather response plans for the coming winter — and is advising residents to do the same.

When snow or freezing temperatures are predicted, arterial streets will be salted, brined, or plowed depending on the conditions, the city said in a statement; while catch basins known to be prone to flooding are cleared by city crews when heavy rain is expected.

Bridge decks are also a top priority, followed by steep hills, school routes, bus stops and the most-used bike routes.

But the city said it can't be expected to keep every single roadway clear.

"The City of Vancouver, like many similar municipalities, does not treat residential side streets for the most part," said Erin Hoess, manager of street operations. "We prioritize our arterial and emergency routes."

In the event of prolonged snow, Hoess said crews may do spot clearing of side streets to allow garbage and recycling vehicles better access.

Homeowners, meanwhile, are expected to clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10 a.m. every day — or face fines of up to $2,000.

The city is also co-ordinating its response with the Vancouver Park Board, which has upgraded some of its equipment this year, according to director of parks Howard Normann. 

"This year, many of our John Deere mowers will be equipped with snow brushes and salt spreaders so our staff can easily remove snow from sidewalks, paths, the seawall and parking lots," Normann said.

"We're committed to clearing snow and ice in a timely manner with a focus on priority areas such as community centres and destination parks," he said.

For drivers, the city suggests the following:

  • Have shovels, winter tires and salt on hand before the temperatures drop.
  • Get winter tires: B.C. requires snow tires on several provincial highways during the winter season.
  • If you park on a busy road, move your car when snow is predicted — or soon after it snows — so crews can clear.
  • Avoid driving if you can, and check transit schedules for commuting alternatives.

Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the Snow Angel Program, which matches people with limited mobility to others willing to lend a hand to remove snow and ice from outside their homes.