Snow and Ice Frequently Asked Questions

January 6, 2017

Have questions about snow and ice removal in Pitt Meadows? Find information below, or click on some of the resources at the bottom of the page.

Why isn’t my road cleared/When will my road be cleared?
What is the City doing to clear roads?
What is the City doing to clear sidewalks?
I can’t clear my sidewalks because I’m a senior/disabled.
I can’t clear my sidewalks because they’re frozen ice and there’s no salt.
Is the City’s Bylaw department fining people for not clearing sidewalks?
The plow pushes snow across my sidewalk/driveway/blocks my car parked on the road!
Where can I get more information?

Why isn’t my road cleared/When will my road be cleared?

The City clears roads on a priority basis:

Priority 1 includes main routes only, such as Harris Road, Hammond Road, and Old Dewdney Trunk Road north of Lougheed Highway, and areas bordered by deep ditches. Crews work on clearing only these routes, around the clock in two shifts, until they are consistently clear down to blacktop.

Priority 2 includes emergency roadways and school roads. These areas do not receive attention until the main routes are consistently clear, and only during regular working hours.

Priority 3 includes collector roads. These areas do not receive attention until the first two priority areas are cleared.

Priority 4 includes residential streets. Due to the demands on our crews of the other areas, it may be several days before residential streets are plowed. During this time, the snow may freeze, in which case it cannot be plowed and can only be treated with salt. If the ice is thick, the salt will not break it down and the only treatment option is sand for traction until the weather warms enough for the ice to melt.

If at any time there is new snowfall, crews must revert back to Priority 1 until those areas are clear and work their way back down the priority schedule.

What is the City doing to clear roads?

The City operates within guidelines set out in our Snow and Ice Response Manual. The City operates with crews of up to 12 staff, although during 24-hour Priority 1 clearing there are two shifts.

Snow must be cleared right as it falls or immediately after for most efficient clearing. As we live in a damp climate, snow can be heavy and wet and when temperatures drop after a snowfall it can freeze. The resulting ice cannot be plowed. It is then treated with salt to break down, or if it is too thick and salt is ineffective, sand may be applied for traction until the temperature rises enough for the ice to melt.

Currently, salt is in high demand and although we have a supply of salt on its way, we will not be offering free salt to residents. The City is rationing salt for roads and some sidewalks and is currently mixing salt with sand to conserve supply.

What is the City doing to clear sidewalks?

Each resident in Pitt Meadows is responsible for clearing sidewalks and pathways bordering their property by 10am after a snowfall, per the City’s Boulevard Maintenance Bylaw 2377. Not clearing sidewalks is subject to warnings and potentially fines. More information can be found on the City’s website at pittmeadows.bc.ca/bylaws.

The City clears sidewalks on municipal and park properties in a priority basis, beginning with municipal properties, then park sidewalks, then pathways within parks. Similar to the road clearing priorities, crews do not move to other sidewalks until the priority areas are clear.

Sidewalks bordering schools are the responsibility of the School District. Sidewalks bordering businesses or multi-family properties are the responsibility of the business owner or strata.

I can’t clear my sidewalks because I’m a senior/disabled.

We understand some residents have challenges keeping their property cleared of snow and ice. Please consider asking a family member, friend, or neighbour to help. Some citizens have organized volunteer groups to help with specific neighbourhood areas.

We ask that all residents check on their neighbours who are elderly or mobility challenged. This may mean helping them clear their sidewalks or knocking on their door to ensure they are ok.

I can’t clear my sidewalks because they’re frozen ice and there’s no salt.

If sidewalks are not cleared right away before the snow freezes, they will become icy and very dangerous. This makes it difficult for pedestrians, other community members in wheelchairs, or who have children in strollers, or who are elderly or pregnant and not steady on their feet.

Salt can break down the ice, but currently salt is in high demand and can be hard to find in stores. As an alternative, kitty litter or sand may be used to give traction and make the ice less slippery. Kitty litter should not be clay-based, as this will be messy once the snow melts. Sand should be playground grade.

Is the City’s Bylaw department fining people for not clearing sidewalks?

Our Bylaw department has been following up on complaints and issuing warnings where necessary. Fines are pending for property owners who have been warned and do not make the effort to either clear sidewalks or offer traction to pedestrians who use the sidewalk.

The plow pushes snow across my sidewalk/driveway/blocks my car parked on the road!

Snow clearing doesn't get rid of the snow, it just pushes or moves it from the driving lanes of the road so people can drive safely and get around. Unfortunately this creates parking issues, especially with a large amount of snow. There's not much that can be done about snow on the side of the roads, because there is no way to remove the snow until it melts.

Here are some tips to about dealing with snow buildup on your sidewalk or roadway:

  • Park in your driveway or parking lot rather than on the street (whenever possible) to make way for snow plow equipment. If cars are parked on the roadway, the plow may have to skip your street.
  • When shovelling snow, pile it onto your lawn instead of on the road or sidewalk. Be sure not to pile snow around fire hydrants; blocking hydrants can cause serious delays when they are critically needed.
  • Place garbage containers in cleared areas - not on snow piles. If you have a missed pickup due to the truck not being able to get into your street or you cannot place your bins at the curb, contact Waste Management about a follow-up collection at 604.778.5700.
  • Clear snow and ice away from catch basins to allow water from melting snow and ice to flow freely into storm sewers. City crews work to clear catch basins when possible, but if residents can assist with this we can get to a cleared and safe status much faster.

Where can I get more information?