Hello All!*

Happy New Year and best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2017!  I’m working on my January newsletter, but there are so many SNOW updates to share that I am dedicating this year's first newsletter to JUST snow!

According to Environment Canada, Winnipeg receives an average snowfall of 23 cm in December.  However, we shattered several records in late 2016:

• November 22 was the latest date ever recorded for a first snowfall in Winnipeg

• On December 25, Winnipeg received 25 cm, the most snowfall ever recorded on Christmas Day

• December, 2016 is the second-snowiest on record as Winnipeg received about 67 cm of snow. It's the snowiest December in a century! 

This past Monday’s ~10 cm of snowfall was not a record breaker, but gusting winds of 50-60 km/hr certainly created additional havoc on streets and sidewalks. So, LOTS of snow, fast and gusting, over the holiday season makes snow removal challenging!  You can follow the City's  updates on snow removal at News Releases.


1. Requesting Snow Removal Service

My office is receiving many inquiries re snow removal, and we’re working to respond to phone calls and E-Mails.  An EXTRAORDINARY amount of snow results in a snow removal schedule that is not ‘ordinary’. 

PLEASE REPORT any snow removal questions or issues to 311 (311@winnipeg.ca).  Reporting to 311 serves several purposes:

• It puts you in the queue for service

• It creates a formal record for your service request (for future reference and follow up)

• It enables City supervisors to identify areas experiencing frequent issues and often will result in more timely action (ie: 5+ neighbours report a blocked street). 

I HIGHLY recommend using E-Mail  – 311@winnipeg.ca - as it is very convenient, and 311 phone lines are very busy with over 1.5 million enquiries received each year!  E-Mailing guarantees that your enquiry is ‘in the system’.


 2.  Snow Facts - Did You Know?

Winnipeg’s Public Works Department was the 2008 recipient of the prestigious American Public Works Association’s Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award, recognizing best practices in snow/ice removal while minimizing environmental impacts.

Winnipeg’s Snow and Ice Control Policy provides one of the top snow and ice control programs in the country.  In fact, winter cities across North America regularly contact Winnipeg to learn from our best practices.

We provide services NOT offered in other cities. Winnipeg is one of the very few winter cities in North America that plows ALL roads and sidewalks:

• Regional streets                            748 kms

• Collector streets/bus routes       712 kms

• Residential streets                     1,852 kms

• Alleys/Backlanes                           915 kms

• Sidewalks                                     2,588 kms

WHERE are Priority 1 and Priority 2 streets?  P1 and P2 streets are designated priority routes because they are the main arteries of the city’s transportation system. They receive priority snow removal as they enable the movement of emergency vehicles and key transit routes. See P1 & P2 streets on the South Winnipeg-St Norbert STREET MAP.  

WHAT is the priority of MY STREET?  This link, the Citizens' Information Service, is a handy tool to determine your street’s priority and snow zone, and provides other useful information as well.

WHY do BACK LANES receive a priority clean?  Back lanes are usually given an accelerated priority for plowing over a front access residential P3 street to allow garbage/recycling vehicles to pass.  These lanes also do not have an adjacent boulevard in the lane for snow storage so a more frequent plow is required to avoid a huge build-up of compacted snow.

WHEN will a residential street plow occur? Winter street supervisors regularly check residential streets and will determine if a full residential plow is required. 

Why are many sidewalks and paths still not cleaned?  Without a doubt, timely snow removal on sidewalks/paths is the weak link in the City’s snow removal system.  City policy states sidewalks ‘should’ be cleaned at the same time the accompanying street is cleaned (ie: Priority 1 street AND sidewalk simultaneously).  See sidewalks on the South Winnipeg St Norbert Ward SIDEWALK map.

BUT – and this is not an excuse, but a FACT - the extraordinary amount of snow we received in late 2016 is being temporarily stored in close proximity to sidewalks, sometimes completely blocking sidewalks and impacting timely sidewalk clearing. I did a CBC Interview on Dec. 30, explaining the complications of excessive snow and how it impacts sidewalk snow removal.

There are many kms of stored snow along streets and sidewalks, often piled higher than the van I drive!  Removing stored snow is a detailed job that takes time and care – care not to damage a bench, fire hydrant, regulatory signage, traffic lights, etc.  See an excellent Winnipeg Free Press article re removal of stored snow.  Street inspectors regularly monitor removal, and operators' attention to detail. 

Last year, I requested that Public Works investigate options to improve snow removal on the active transportation network, and they will be bringing forward recommendations mid-March.

What about DAMAGE due to snow removal?  With over 400 pieces of heavy equipment removing an enormous amount of snow across the entire City day and night, it is inevitable there will be some damage to curbs, trees and property.  If you have observed damage to public or private property, please follow this process to REPORT the DAMAGE


3.  Neighbourhoods of Bridgwater & South Pointe

New communities on outer edges of the City experience unique snow challenges, as open areas blow in more frequently than areas protected by surrounding buildings and trees. Snow fencing is installed in certain areas, but with the amount of snow we have received, fencing becomes ineffective when the snow reaches the height of the fence.

Blown-In Streets?  Please E-Mail 311@Winnipeg.ca

• The City policy is to keep all streets and sidewalks open.  Winter street inspectors inspect streets for blockages, snow removal quality and more. With thousands of kms to inspect, inspectors do their best to get to every area on a regular basis.  Please contact 311 if you notice streets requiring attention.

• Communities built with greater density (homes closer together) have less ‘snow storage space’ between driveways. We’ve received many calls where snow has been piled but then fallen onto driveways. The City is required to ensure one vehicle width is left open.

Blocked Roundabouts?  Please E-Mail 311@Winnipeg.ca

• Open area roundabouts, combined with an enormous volume of snow and gusting winds, are resulting in snow packed driving conditions. Street inspectors are monitoring the roundabouts, but once again, PLEASE contact 311 if you notice any blockages.

• In fall, 2016, the City started installing 'no parking signs' near the entry of roundabouts. Please do not park close to a roundabout entry as it creates a road hazard, and impacts efficient snow removal.

YOUR assistance in REPORTING snow blockages is greatly appreciated!


4.  St. Norbert Neighbourhood

While we all are currently dealing with snow, it's not that long until spring and the transition of snow to spring run-off! I encourage you to review this excellent CBC article and video by Bartley Kives, an ‘expert on flood reporting’ in his own right!  Mr. Kives explains the 5 determining factors of a flood, noting that currently we have met 3 of the factors. 

As someone who lives on a flood prone street in our ward, I will be reviewing all flood related protocols in the coming months in order to be prepared.


5. Think Safety - Stay Back, Stay Safe! 

The City has a ‘priority schedule’ for snowbank removal: bus stops, downtown, high volume street corners, etc.  As removing these banks of snow takes extra time, I encourage you to drive with extra caution. Winnipeg's Stay Back, Stay Safe campaign is aimed at reminding everyone about winter safety best practices.

A huge thanks to ALL media outlets who’ve been doing a spectacular job of covering the snow, flood potential and related stories. Your work is so valuable!

A second huge thanks to ALL the snow operators who’ve been diligently working around the clock to remove snow during the holiday season and into our new year!

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to clear our City of this tremendous amount of snow. Stay tuned for a Ward update newsletter next week!




*At some point in time, we have worked together on a project or communicated on a Ward issue. If you do not wish to receive my E-Newsletter, just click "unsubscribe" below.  Thank you for your time.