As Kelowna gears up for what appears will be a white Christmas, city hall is reminding residents that they are responsible for clearing snow from their driveways and sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses.
Drivers are also asked to not to park on the street if possible during snow falls so as to allow snowplows to clear roads more efficiently and effectively—especially in cul-de-sacs.
Each year the city receives complaints about slippery sidewalks, where uncleared, trampled down snow can make for treacherous footing.
And with the recent snowfalls, city roadways operations supervisor Stephen Bryans said he has noticed the problem of uncleared sidewalks has been pretty bad of late.
Earlier this week, Capital News reader Mathieu Pelletier, writing on the paper’s Facebook page, questioned whose responsibility clearing sidewalks of snow should be, after finding sidewalks around Kelowna General Hospital particularly slippery.
“I walked from Raymer to Cadder, then Richter to Downtown. Three-quarters of sidewalks were ice,” he wrote.
He said he’s from Quebec and there it is the responsibility of the municipalities to clear sidewalks of snow. But that’s not the case here.
In Kelowna the city clears sidewalks in front of civic property and in areas where leaving it to residents would be considered unreasonable.
Bryans said it’s important for home and business owners to keep their sidewalks clear of snow from a safety point of view.
He said the city encourages residents to join the Snow Busters program, an effort to get able-bodied residents to help those who may not be able to shovel snow to clear their drives, paths and sidewalks. Snow Busters can be nominated by the the pubic and win Kelowna Rockets tickets.
The city also has Adopt-A-Block programs where groups of residents on a street look after their area sidewalks.
The city budgets $1.6 million each year for snow removal but will spend whatever it has to to get the job done, said Bryans.
If there is a surplus one year, it is put towards the cost of snow removal the next year.
When it comes to clearing streets of snow, the city does so on a priority basis, starting with the busiest arterial roads, then movies to collector roads in school zones, town centres and with bus routes before moving onto local roads.
Bryans said it’s important for drivers to not park on streets during snowfalls so plows and get in and out quicker and move onto other areas.
“The quicker we can get one area done, the quicker we can get to your neighbourhood,” he said Tuesday.
This year, the city established special “snow routes” in four residential areas—the Wilden, Ponds, Magic Estates and Dilworth Mountain subdivisions—where temporary street parking bans will go into effect during a significant snowfall in order to let plows get through.
For more information on the city’s snow removal program, go to the City of Kelowna’s home page—kelowna.ca—and click on Snow Removal link in the City In Action section at the top of the page.