Snow Removal



  1. IGLOO CITY: In eight days (January 2-10), city crews moved 335,000 cubic metres of snow. That’s 11,000 of the large trucks that haul snow to snow storage facilities.

    In 2010, Salzburg, Austria built an igloo camp using 5,000 cubic metres of snow. We could build 71 of those camps using only the snow moved by city crews from January 2-10.

  2. PRIORITIES: Arterial roads, hills, and collector bus routes are the highest priority for snow clearing. After those are complete, neighbourhood roads are bladed to a 5cm snow pack. This creates windrows, which are not removed from neighbourhoods.

  3. WINDROWS: We know that windrows create some inconveniences, and we want to find a way to fix that. But it’s important to note that it would cost $25 million to fully clear windrows from neighbourhoods once per season. For comparison’s sake, our total budget for snow clearing this year was $51.9 million. We can talk about removing windrows, but we need to keep in mind the very real impact that would have on your property tax bill.

  4. HOW WE CLEAR IT: City crews use a variety of equipment – skid steers, plows, trucks – to clear, blade, and move the snow to our designated snow storage facilities. The Southwest Service Yard, which serves Ward 10, covers a vast area – all the way from Whyte Avenue to the far reaches of the southwest. Workers and equipment are stretched thin, which causes problems all across the city.

  5. WHO TO CALL: If you have concerns about snow removal, calling 311 is the best way to make sure your concern is recorded and sent to Transportation. They’ll give you a tracking number, which makes it easier to follow up and see what’s been done about your concern.

  6. LISTENING: In the last week, councillors’ offices have received hundreds of phone calls and emails about snow removal. We hear you. We understand your frustration. We’re working to fix it, because we know we can do better.

  7. WHAT WE’RE DOING: In December, Councillor Amarjeet Sohi made a motion for the City administration to provide a report recommending amendments to the City’s snow clearing policy. That motion is available here:

  8. SPECIFICS: Those recommendations will include timelines for removing windrows from arterial roads and bus routes, snow clearing from school drop off zones, options for handling windrows on narrower streets (and associated costs), and so on. Ultimately, we need to match our investment in winter road maintenance with our city’s tremendous growth. In the past, we haven’t done that, and that’s why we’re experiencing problems with road maintenance today.

  9. CITY SIDEWALKS: We’ve been hearing concerns about snow removal from city sidewalks, and we want to fix that. Mayor Iveson submitted an inquiry to Transportation Committee asking for information on whether we’re meeting our targets for clearing sidewalks and what we can do better. Once Council has that information, we’ll make some decisions about what we can do better.

  10. PATIENCE: Clearing 71 igloo villages worth of snow takes both time and, as I mentioned, many types of equipment. So please, be patient. If a crew leaves your neighbourhood without clearing your snow, that might be because a different piece of equipment is needed and on its way. We’re doing everything we can right now, and we’re going to do better. Thank you for your patience.