May 21, 2019

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Who shovels, who doesn't? Sidewalk snow-clearing across Canada

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/6/2015 (1428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg isn’t the first Canadian city to consider D.I.Y. snow clearing policies for public sidewalks. The Ontarian cities of Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo and Windsor have all left residents responsible for sidewalk snow clearing.

Here are six other cities that have also gone ahead with various interpretations of the idea.

Vancouver

Residents and business owners are expected to clear sidewalks by 10 a.m. the next day, following every snowfall, seven days a week.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/6/2015 (1428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg isn’t the first Canadian city to consider D.I.Y. snow clearing policies for public sidewalks. The Ontarian cities of Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo and Windsor have all left residents responsible for sidewalk snow clearing.

Here are six other cities that have also gone ahead with various interpretations of the idea.

Vancouver

Residents and business owners are expected to clear sidewalks by 10 a.m. the next day, following every snowfall, seven days a week.

The city encourages Vancouverites to adopt the sidewalks of neighbouring seniors or people with mobility issues and keep them clear all winter long.

Failure to keep private residential homes’ walks clear can lead to fines of $250 per offence, while apartment blocks and business can incur fines ranging from $750 to $2,000.

Calgary

Since 1974, private property owners in Calgary have been responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to their properties within 24 hours of snow or ice accumulating.

The city has also been promoting a Snow Angels campaign for more than 10 years, encouraging able-bodied residents to help seniors and others in need by adopting more sidewalks to clear. Residents nominate their Snow Angels annually for special recognition letters from the mayor and $25 parking vouchers from the Calgary Parking Authority.

If property owners don’t clear their sidewalks within 24 hours, the city gives them notices to shovel and scrape their walks within an allotted period of time. Bylaw services "typically acts on snow and ice removal concerns on a complaint basis," according to the City of Calgary’s website.

If property owners don’t comply, city crews will remove the snow and ice at the cost of the property owner. Fines vary based on the length of sidewalks and the amount of snow and ice accumulated.

Edmonton

A community standards bylaw requires property owners shovel their adjacent walkways – sidewalks and driveways — within 48 hours of snowfall.

"Property owners are also responsible for clearing snow from every walk and driveway on or beside a property with buildings normally occupied by people, including derelict buildings," according to the City of Edmonton website.

Those who violate the bylaw are given one warning notice per season before being billed. Tickets are $100 and if a contractor needs to come out to remove snow, the property owner will be invoiced again separately.

If keeping sidewalks ice-free becomes an issue, the city recommends residents sprinkle salt or gravel on the ground to give pedestrians traction. The City of Edmonton provides free boxes of sand at community drop points for citizens to use.

Regina

The City of Regina also provides community sand boxes to help residents keep their walks safe.

Regina requires its downtown residents to clear their walks within 24 hours of snowfall, while property owners outside downtown are given 48 hours to get the job done.

Saskatoon

Residents are required to clear their private walks within 48 hours of snowfall, while some commercial properties are only given 24 hours.

When reports of uncleared sidewalks are filed to the City of Saskatoon, a bylaw inspector investigates and doles out 48-hour warnings to residents who need to shovel or scrape their walks.

Those who don’t clear adequately or at all – there must be a clear path at least 1.2 metres wide and the walk’s surface, packed no more than three centimeters thick – can expect fines ranging from $100 to $2,000, depending on the severity and number of infractions.

Toronto

City crews clean the snow and ice from much of Toronto, but aren’t able to do so in core areas.

Residents and business owners in the city’s core are asked to clear their adjacent walkways within 12 hours of every snowfall.

Violating the bylaw by failing to do so could result in $100 fines with $25 surcharges, according to the City of Toronto website.

Seniors and disabled people needing snow clearing help in Toronto’s core can submit special requests to the city.

jessica.botelho-urbanski@freepress.mb.ca

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski
Legislature reporter

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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History

Updated on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 6:02 PM CDT: added email

June 24, 2015 at 1:07 PM: Clarifies Snow Angels in Calgary receive $25 parking vouchers from the Calgary Parking Authority.

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