The City of Abbotsford is responsible for keeping its roads plowed and sanded, but it’s up to business owners and residents to clear the sidewalks.
A bylaw states that every owner or occupant (including renters) of property must remove ice or snow from sidewalks and footpaths bordering their property before noon the day after it accumulates.
Residents are asked to move snow into their yards, rather than public roads.
Snow and ice must also be removed from the roof of any building which is adjacent to a road.
Since the first snowfall this winter, the city’s bylaw staff has responded to 159 complaints of snow-covered sidewalks and have been educating residents on the rules to “achieve voluntary compliance,” according to spokesperson Rhonda Livingstone.
So far only one $150 ticket has been issued this winter.
Livingstone said the city has received a total of 650 “calls for service” related to snow clearing, including multiple calls on the same road, as well as complaints about strata units, which are the owners’ responsibility.
The city’s 900 kilometres of road are divided into three categories, with about 350 kilometres of “first-priority” roads, comprised of main roads and bus routes, 170 kilometres of “second-priority” roads and the remaining 393 kilometres defined as “third-priority.”
Once first- and second-priority roads are cleared, crews sometimes must move back to first priority roads if more snow has fallen or ice has formed.
The city’s general manager of engineering and regional utilities, Peter Sparenese, said he believes “…we’ve been really effective and responsible in our approach to managing this snowfall event.”
Sparanese said that snowplows have been on Abbotsford roads 24/7 since Dec. 31 and will continue through the coming weekend, as more snow and cold temperatures are expected.
Select roads are also sprayed with a salt brine prior to snowfall to prevent the formation of ice and accumulation of snow.
The highly diluted water solution is mixed at two city-owned locations on King and Vye roads. Large tank trucks spray routes so that snow that falls afterwards can begin melting from underneath.
Sparanese said this strategy, used in Abbotsford since 2005, requires less salt to be spread after a snowfall, which in turn means less salt – which can have a negative effect on the environment – makes its way into waterways
Plowing is often followed by spreading salt or sand on Abbotsford roads for ice.