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Snow and freeze/thaw cycles can result in very hazardous conditions on walkways and sidewalks. These conditions are a safety concern for everyone — particularly for waste collectors, other service providers and those with limited mobility.  

Property owners should remove snow and ice as soon as possible, especially during days of continuous snowfall and during freeze/thaw cycles. As residents of a winter city, we need to be considerate of the impact snowy and icy sidewalks have on our neighbours and fellow citizens. 

Failure to maintain your sidewalks could result in a $100 fine plus potentially any cleanup costs. 

Free sand is available at participating community leagues and Roadway Maintenance Yards.

Sidewalk and Pathway Maintenance

City crews maintain more than 1,380 km of sidewalks and trails in Edmonton. These include sidewalks next to City-owned buildings, multi-use paths and river valley trails.

What sidewalks and trails do citizens or businesses clear?

Sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the land owner adjacent to the sidewalk. For example, a sidewalk next to a privately owned condo building is the responsibility of the condo building owner. Similarly, sidewalks in front of private property or, if a home is on a corner lot, adjacent to the home, are the responsibility of the homeowner. Community Leagues are responsible for the sidewalks and parking lots that fall within their lease areas.

What doesn’t the City clear?

Some walkways are designated as “unmaintained” during the winter months. These include walkways within parks where no City programs are offered. 

Sidewalks on Public Utility Lots (PUL) rights of way (undeveloped grassland) or adjacent to Municipal Reserves and Parkland are not cleared if they do not connect pedestrians to a major roadway or bus stop. 

Ice and Snow Maintenance


  • Shovels with a small blade and ergonomic handle with a gentle curve are best
  • Push the snow, instead of lifting it, as you shovel; it's easier on your back 
  • Use a small shovel or fill only half of a large one
  • Lift with your legs bent and keep your back straight
  • Spray the shovel blade with cooking oil if the snow is sticking to it
  • Clear snow after it falls to prevent packed down snow or ice 
  • Clear right to the sidewalk
  • Offer to help anyone who may need help due to mobility or health issues

Shovelling Help for Seniors

Sand and Ice

  • Free sand is available at the City’s roadway maintenance yards and participating community leagues or for purchase at your local hardware store.
  • Spread sand or gravel on icy patches to make your sidewalk safer for pedestrians. Spreading sand on a sidewalk before ice forms can also make future ice easier to remove.
  • Microwaving sand in a microwave-safe container and spreading it while it is still warm can make it more effective. It will embed itself into the ice, creating a gritty top layer.

Freeze-Thaw Cycles

  • Freeze-thaw cycles cause water from melting snow to run on to sidewalks 
  • Pile snow where it will not run across your sidewalk
  • Aim your downspouts away from sidewalks
  • It's illegal to pile snow on public property (including roads and boulevards)
  • You're required to keep the walks around your property safe by removing ice or spreading sand 

Concerns and Complaints

Bylaw enforcement of snow clearing of sidewalks that are on private property.

Protecting Your Privacy

The information you provide will be used to process your complaint, but your name and address will not be made available to anyone else. For more information on how the City protects your privacy visit Freedom of Information and Privacy.

Reporting a Concern

If you have a concern about a neighbour's uncleared walk:

  • Discuss the concern directly with your neighbour
  • Offer to help them keep it clear
  • Record the address of the violation and a description of the problem if you can't resolve the problem directly with your neighbour
  • Call 311 or register a complaint online
  • Provide your name, address, phone number, and the details of your concern in case your testimony is required in court
Responding to Your Complaint

After you call 311, the City takes these steps to help with your issue:

  1. A file is created specifying your concerns
  2. The complaint will be assessed within 4 business days. The work is prioritized based upon severity, location and weather. It will be responded to as soon as possible.
  3. The MEO may issue a warning notice with directions to remedy the problem within a specified time frame or issue a $100 fine immediately, depending on the circumstances
  4. The officer may proceed with sending the property for remedial action which allows the City to clear the sidewalks from snow/ice and charge the property owner for the cost.
  5. The City may contact you to appear as a witness if the matter goes to court

Tickets will be issued to business owners if walks are not cleared around the property as indicated in the Community Standards Bylaw.

Free sand is provided during winter weather to use on your icy sidewalks and walkways. Remember to bring your own container when you visit your local community sandbox or roadway maintenance yard.

Although we try to keep sandboxes filled, crews fill them as time permits. Activities such as plowing, blading and sanding roads take priority over additional courtesy services like filling sandboxes.

Community Sandbox Locations

Request a Community Sandbox

Neighbourhoods that have never had a sandbox previously and would like one must contact their community league.

The community league must call 311 to make the request on behalf of the neighbourhood.

For neighbourhoods with no community league, residents can call 311 directly to make the request.

Roadway Maintenance Yard Locations

Sand is available at the following City of Edmonton roadway maintenance yards:

Sand is located outside the fence. Please do not drive into the yards. 

Safety Tips

Take Care of Your Body

  • Check with your doctor if you're concerned about health conditions that may cause physical strain while clearing snow and ice 
  • Dress in multiple layers of warm clothing and wear supportive boots with a good grip
  • Warm up and stretch your muscles before you start shovelling or chipping 
  • Be sure to take frequent breaks

Seek Medical Attention

Immediately stop shovelling and seek medical attention if you experience:

  • Discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck
  • Unusual or prolonged shortness of breath
  • A prolonged dizzy or faint feeling
  • Excessive sweating or nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive back pain


For More Information

Roadway Maintenance


In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555

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