Sand is available at participating communities and roadway maintenance yards throughout the city for use on icy sidewalks and walkways.
It is your responsibility to clear the sidewalks around your property within 48 hours after a snowfall. City crews will plow main roads and clear sidewalks on City property within the same timeframe. The fine for not maintaining your walks in the winter is $100.
Snow and ice that remains on sidewalks is hazardous for everyone, but especially for people with limited mobility who may be severely injured from a fall on ice or snow. Uncleared walkways also make it difficult for people who deliver services in our city — like mail carriers, meter readers, delivery drivers, firefighters and paramedics — to do their jobs safely.
Property owners are also responsible for clearing snow from every walk and driveway on or beside any vacant properties they own.
When you remove snow promptly after a snowfall, you play an important role in keeping our city moving safely in difficult weather. The safety of your neighbourhood is in your hands this winter.
Walk Like a Penguin
Stay safe on slippery sidewalks.
While properly removing snow prevents a build-up of ice over the winter, freeze-thaw weather cycles cause water from melting snow to run on to cleared walks. The water then becomes ice when the temperature drops.
You are still required to keep the walks around your property safe during freeze-thaw cycles, either by keeping them ice-free or by spreading sand or gravel to give pedestrians traction.
- Be sure you have the proper tools to maintain your walks. A good snow shovel, an ice chipper and sand are all essentials that you should have throughout the winter months.
Take Care of Your Body
- If you are not physically active or have an ongoing health condition, check with your doctor to make sure the physical strain of clearing snow and ice is okay.
- Dress in multiple layers of warm clothing. You should also wear supportive boots with a good grip.
- Warm up and stretch your muscles before you start shovelling or chipping by walking around the block.
- Be sure to take frequent breaks while you work, at least once every 10-15 minutes.
- The best shovels to use have a small blade and ergonomic handle with a gentle curve.
- Push the snow as you shovel; it's easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
- Don't pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
- Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and "sitting" into the movement, you'll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you.
- Spray the shovel blade with cooking oil if the snow is sticking to it.
- Clearing snow soon after it falls prevents it from being packed down and becoming ice, which is harder to remove.
- Warm weather during the day can make ice soft, so it's easier to chip or shovel away.
- 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 in to the ice, creating a gritty top layer.
- Pile snow in a place where it will not run across your sidewalk when it melts and aim your downspouts away from areas where people walk to keep your sidewalks clear during freeze-thaw cycles. Just remember it is illegal to pile snow on public property (including roads and boulevards).
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
Concerns and Complaints
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.
Complaints are accepted between November 1 and May 1, and only when it has not snowed for at least 48 hours.
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 if needed by becoming a Snow Angel and volunteering
- 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
After you call 311, the City takes these steps to help with your issue:
- A file is created specifying your concerns
- A Municipal Enforcement Officer (MEO) opens an investigation
- The officer investigates your complaint within 4 business days
- 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
- The officer may issue an order, which allows the City to fix the problem and bill the property owner for the cost
- 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.