An Open Letter To The City Of Vancouver and Those Who Don’t Shovel

Walking to School this morning was infuriating, over half of the sidewalks have never seen a shovel or salt. The main roads are clear, however, small residential pockets like the ones around Ava’s School are pure ice. The main intersection at her school is scary on a good day.  Throw in sheets of ice and a group of people who do not know how to maneuver on ice and, it’s basically a death trap!

In the 10 years that I’ve been living in Vancouver, this is the most snow I’ve ever seen here, for the longest duration of time. It’s weird, an anomaly really I get it! One of the reasons I love living in Vancouver is that we do not experience the snow as much as I did growing up in Saskatchewan.  I’m writing today to tell you the snow…. it’s here and clearly not going away tomorrow so can we shovel our sidewalks or plow some streets?

We searched for a good week for salt for our sidewalks after the initial snowfall and it was sold out of most places. My husband gave in and bought the shovel.  There are alternatives if you still cannot find sidewalk salt. Growing up in Saskatchewan, when we didn’t have sidewalk salt, we used kitty litter.   There are solutions for the snow, so get up and figure it out!

Be a good neighbour! Shovel for the elderly people next door, or maybe a mom with kids, clear off their walkway or throw down some salt. These small deeds affect more than just you or them, they affect those people trying to get their kids to school, seniors getting to doctor’s appointments, or getting groceries!  Sometimes those few minutes of shoveling can be the difference between someone falling and breaking their leg and arriving safely. Be a GOOD NEIGHBOUR! Or call the city of Vancouver and request a snow angel if you are unable to do it! Did you know that in Vancouver you can receive a fine for failure to clear the snow off your sidewalk, even as a tenant?

Priority locations for snow and ice removalOur crews keep major routes safe by salting and brining them before any snow or freezing rain starts.Our priority locations for snow and ice removal are:

  • Major roads

  • Bus routes

  • Bridges

  • Emergency access routes (including five major hospitals and two health care facilities)

  • 15 most-used bike routes and walkways

I am aware this affects more cities than just Vancouver, I mean Capital Hill in Burnaby is absolutely atrocious. However, there must be more importance on “non major” roads when the snow has been around for this long!  The deep ruts on some streets are next to impossible. Perhaps we consider adding School Zones to that list of “priority location for snow and ice removal”

Again, I understand this is an anomaly.  We don’t normally have snow like this and for this long. The City now must start giving some love back to the side roads and public sidewalks! If a child was hit by a car, would non-major roads then considered a priority after 4 weeks?! Does it take someone breaking their leg on your sidewalk to get you out there to clear it? I’m talking about actually shoveling the entire sidewalk, not just a 1-foot wide section! Perhaps it requires a child slipping at recess for schools to shovel?

Apparently, the City of  Vancouver will be deploying 150 additional crews to salt and sand roads over the next few days, as there is a possibility of more snow on Friday. However, residents really need to get to shoveling. After returning from Ava’s school this afternoon, it is still very icy. Salt that has been put down, however, the salt is acting as a band-aid.  Hopefully, we can all get our acts together before someone really gets hurt!

Citizens with the possibility of snow on Friday, I leave you with these final words; shovel your sidewalks, salt the icy parts, be a responsible neighbour. The city of Vancouver, please get on top of the icy roads. School Zones are priority too!




Looking for the Guidelines for your city? Here is a quick reference on the CKNW website. Additionally, you will find complete info on the City of Vancouver Website.



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