Update: Sidewalks, Snow & Equipment Break Downs

Thanks CTV for a good overview of this horrible situation.

A series of events is causing a massive delay in snow removal on sidewalks. Here is the background on what the sidewalks are essentially not accessible in many many areas.

Following the snowfall at the end of December, snow is removed from the streets and piled and stored along the sides of the streets. Nothing unusual about this – once streets are cleared, dump trucks and semi trailers come to remove the snow banks.

  • During the December snow fall, sidewalks were cleared as per the City’s priority listing, and overall sidewalks were great for about two days.
  • Then large 60-80 km winds came, and blew the snow back onto the sidewalks plugging them up.


  • Another large snow fall came in mid-January – BEFORE the December snowbanks stored along the sides of the roads could be removed.
  • City streets had to be cleared from the January snow, and the snow was stored, on top of the already large piles of snow from the December snow.


  • Balls of snow and ice roll down the banks onto the sidewalks – perfect example in a photo I took on the weekend.
  • The sidewalk snow blowing/removal equipment is now finding it very difficult to ‘blow’ the snow off the sidewalks as there is a lot of ice and compacted snow that has fallen from the banks onto the sidewalks. The sidewalk equipment with blades is also having a very hard time moving the snow – as there is little to no room to push the snow anywhere because of the mountainous snow banks.
  • As a result – many many sidewalk snow removal machines are breaking down, and having to be repaired, which takes a few days – resulting in city wide huge delays.
  • The Public Works department has reached out to contractors all over the city to rent additional sidewalk equipment.


  • The combination of more blustery days has made open area sidewalks literally disappear (around ponds, in new developments)
  • Today’s small snow volume, but intense winds are going to create more horrible sidewalk situations.


  • The Director of Streets Maintenance has directed both City and Contractor staff to work 12 hour shifts round the clock.
    He expects it will take weeks to remove snow Amos and get sidewalks back into top condition.
    I expect to receive much feedback from many frustrated residents, and please know – I hear you – and are keeping in constant touch with the Public Works department and will update you with any and all information I receive. Overall – not a good situation for people who use sidewalks.

Photo Credit: Steve