Winter wonderland…or house arrest? Around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, unusually heavy snowfalls and icy conditions have caused a lot of trouble for people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices. We’ve compiled a list of bylaws regarding snow and ice removal in major cities around BC to help educate your shovel-shy neighbours and get you on the move again!
Snowflakes that stay on our nose and eyelashes may be among our favourite things—but snowflakes that stay on our sidewalks and turn to thick sheets of ice are not. Unshovelled sidewalks are a danger and nuisance, but for many wheelchair users they’re also a trap: unable to navigate icy city blocks around their own neighbourhoods, many people who use mobility devices essentially become isolated and imprisoned in their own homes.
In most BC cities, both owners and tenants are responsible to clear their walks of snow within 24 hours (though many don’t). The following list highlights important snow-clearing bylaws around the province. If you see areas of concern please report the location and reason for concern to the city department responsible. And remember that most wheelchairs are wider than a shovel-width—please clear the entire sidewalk!
City of Vancouver – The owner or occupier of any property are required to remove snow and ice from any sidewalk adjacent to the property, for the full width of the sidewalk, no later than 10 AM every day. To report snow issues call 311 or use the City of Vancouver VanConnect app.
City of Burnaby – Businesses are required to remove accumulated snow from sidewalks bordering the property by 10 AM on any day in which the premises are open or occupied by the public. Residents are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks abutting their property as soon as possible. To report unsafe locations please report addresses to 604-294-7460 or firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Surrey – Residents and businesses are responsible to clear snow from sidewalks around their property before 10 AM after a snowfall. Report unsafe sidewalks to email@example.com or by calling 604-591-4370 with specific details of the location.
City of North Vancouver – The owner or occupier of any real property is required to remove any accumulation of snow and ice from the sidewalks and footpaths bordering the owned or occupied property as soon as possible after snow has stopped falling or ice has formed. To report problem areas please call 604-987-7155.
City of Richmond – It is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of all industrial, commercial or multi-family residential buildings to remove all snow and ice from the sidewalk, for a distance that coincides with the property line, by 10 AM every day including Sunday. To report problems call 604-276-4289 or use the City of Richmond App, Richmond Works.
City of New Westminster – The City’s Street and Traffic Bylaw requires snow and ice to be removed from sidewalks abutting property owners’ and occupants’ properties by no later than 10 AM of the day following a snowfall event. Sidewalks should be clear of snow and ice the full length and width. To report problem areas call Engineering Operations at 604-526-4691 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Port Moody – Residents and businesses are responsible for removing snow or ice from sidewalks bordering their property within 24 hours after a snowfall. Report problem areas to Operations staff at email@example.com or by calling 604-469-4574.
City of Coquitlam – It is the responsibility of all owners or occupiers of property, including the City, to clear ice and snow from the sidewalks bordering the property within 10 hours of the cessation of any snowfall or ice storm. Sidewalks adjacent to bus stops are particularly important. This is a continuing obligation, and snow and ice must be re-cleared should it re-accumulate by whatever means. To report problem areas call 604-927-3500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Langley – Owners or properties in the City of Langley are required to remove any accumulation of snow or ice from the sidewalks and walkways bordering their property within 24 hours after a snowfall. Report issues to online or call 604-514-2800.
Abotsford – Residents and owners of property are responsible for clearing their own driveways and sidewalks no later than 12 noon the day following an accumulation of snow or ice. Contact 604-853-5485 during business hours, or 604-859-5225 after hours and on weekends with any problems.
Chilliwack – The City’s Highway and Traffic Bylaw requires that all property owners clear the sidewalk adjacent to their property by 12 noon the day following a snowfallIf you need assistance to clear your sidewalk after a snowfall event you may request the help of the “Snow Angels” at 604-793-9979. Questions and concerns can be directed to 604-793-2810.
Victoria – The City’s Streets and Traffic Bylaw requires an owner or occupier of land to remove snow and ice from a sidewalk fronting their property by 10 AM each day. Call 250-385-5711 or e-mail email@example.com with problems or issues.
Nanaimo – Property owners or occupiers must remove snow from sidewalks and footpaths bordering the property within 24 hours of the accumulation of snow. Contact 758-5222 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and concerns.
Kelowna – Owners and tenants are responsible for clearing snow from driveways and sidewalks fronting their property within 24 hours, while the City of Kelowna is responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks that are on City property. Snow cannot be shoveled onto the roadway as this has the potential to become a safety hazard. Report problems to 250-469-8600.
Prince George – It is the duty of the owner or lessor of a residential dwelling unit or commercial property to remove snow and ice from any sidewalk abutting the property within 48 hours after snow has fallen or ice has formed as a result of inclement weather or runoff from abutting surfaces. Report problems to 250-561-7600 or contact via Prince George’s website.
Remember, if you see areas of concern please report the location and reason for concern to the city department responsible as soon as possible. For an additional list of other ways to stay safe and warm this winter, check out the “Hello, Winter” spread in our Winter 2016 issue of the Spin.