Winter Snow and Ice Management
Winter Snow and Ice Management
Snowfall levels vary in different areas of the city, with less accumulation in Fairview and more in Uphill and areas of Rosemont. Nelson has a snow management plan that allows the city to provide safe routes for motorists and pedestrians. Since the snow removal budget is insufficient to cover the removal of all snow accumulation on every street, our snow plan is based on a priority system.
Snow Clearing and Sanding Priorities
Our overall goal is to keep Nelson safe for all the travelling public. Our first priority is to clear and sand emergency routes, major access routes and streets in the downtown area.
Other priorities are:
- Clear and sand bus routes.
- Clear and sand all streets that are considered major hills and are not already cleared.
- Clear and sand the cross streets and any other streets that are not already cleared.
- Clear and sand the dead end streets.
- Clear and sand the designated sidewalk routes and the stairs.
- Clear and sand intersection crosswalks, bus stops, and handicapped parking in the downtown area.
- Clear the residential bus stops and the fire hydrants.
- Clear intersections back for improved sight visibility.
- Clear alley entrances in the downtown core and later in residential areas.
- Clear the residential lanes and alleys.
There are a lot of priorities to handle all at once. It is recognized that these priorities are often handled at the same time and they are dependent on daily conditions and it is up to the operator's judgment to make an efficient work route that maximizes safety for the travelling public.
We try not to place snow on any sidewalks or private driveways. However, we cannot guarantee that it will not happen, and it is often not practical to return later and remove the snow.
City lanes and alleys in residential areas are generally not plowed; we thank any residents for any assistance in keeping these areas passable.
Please obey all snow removal signs at all times.
To see the emergency routes, bus routes and dead end streets, choose one of the following PDF maps:
- Rosemont Snow Removal Priority Map [PDF - 99 KB]
- Downtown & Uphill Snow Removal Priority Map [PDF - 151 KB]
- Fairview Snow Removal Priority Map [PDF - 112 KB]
What kind of equipment does the city use for snow plowing, sanding and snow removal?
Four trucks equipped with belly plows and sanding units, a smaller three ton truck equipped with a front plow and sanding unit, a liquid de-icing truck with a belly plow, three front end loaders with pivoting blades, one eight foot wide snow blower, two tandem trucks for snow hauling, two sidewalk plows with sidewalk sanders, skid steer loader and one sidewalk snow blower attachment. Belly plow trucks are not suited for plowing dead end streets because their blades do not pivot. Dead end streets are cleaned of snow using front end loaders with pivoting blades. There are about 80 dead end streets.
Damages caused by the city during snow plowing, sanding and snow removal.
There are occasions beyond our control when damages do occur to private property and public boulevards. Please advise the City in writing if we have caused damage to your property. Please note that we are unable to accept any liability or repair boulevard lawns as a result of damage caused by sand from winter operations. We ask your cooperation in the removal of sand from boulevards in the spring. The sand can be placed on the street where it does not impede traffic. We will be scraping, sweeping and flushing the streets in the spring and will clean sand removed from boulevards at that time. Please clean your boulevard before the street cleaning equipment arrives.
Parking Restrictions - Downtown
There will be no parking on Baker St. from 2:00am to 7:00am from Sunday to Wednesday. Signs are posted and restrictions will be enforced. There will be no parking on the central downtown business area side streets from 2:00am to 7:00am from Thursday to Saturday. Signs are posted and restrictions will be enforced.
Commercial parking areas may be restricted for parking as necessary for snow removal operations. These areas will be temporarily posted. We ask for your cooperation in observing these parking regulations during snow clearing and sanding operations.
Parking Restrictions - Residential
There may be no parking in any residential areas as we may require the area for snow removal. We will sign and restrict parking as necessary for our operations.
We ask for your cooperation in observing these parking regulations during snow clearing and sanding operations.
We prohibit parking on the south sides of 800 & 900 blocks of Mill St., south side of the 500 block of Robson St., 400 block of Latimer St., 400 block of Hamilton St., west side of the 600 block of Fifth St. and the 200 to 800 blocks of Houston St. during the snow season.
We also close the 900 block of Victoria St. to all vehicles for the entire snow season. We often temporarily close 600 & 700 blocks of Cedar St., 600 & 700 blocks of Carbonate St., 900 blocks of Josephine St. and the 100 block Hart St. during extreme slippery conditions. Other streets may be temporarily closed as required during extreme weather events.
In all areas of the City, it is required that you move your vehicle at least once every 72 hours, and move it to a parking area that has been plowed back close to the concrete curb. This will give the plows a chance to clean the area that you normally park in.
If you are travelling away from Nelson for a long period of time, please make arrangements for the care of any vehicle parked on the street. This duty of care also applies to any vehicles parked on public property.
Two more items to note: it is against City bylaws to park any trailer on public property without it being attached to a towing vehicle. It is also illegal to park any vehicle on public property without having it licensed and insured by the Insurance Corporation of B.C.
In all other residential areas, where it is practical and does not cause your vehicle to be parked illegally, we ask everyone to park on the even numbered side of the street on even numbered days of the month and to park on the odd numbered side of the street on odd numbered days.
Snow that cannot be plowed onto boulevards in various areas of the city must be loaded and hauled away. Accumulated snow is windrowed, and then loaded with the blower into tandem trucks. The removal plan map shows the downtown areas where snow is loaded and hauled during the midnight and early shifts. Removal in all other areas of the city is completed on day or afternoon shift.
Sidewalk Plowing and Sanding by City Crews
The City's sidewalk snow plowing program states that designated, high traffic sidewalks will be plowed of snow by the Operations department. Of the streets in the program, only one side of the sidewalk will be cleared of snow. This route is a series of sidewalks that gives pedestrians a cleared route to walk to all areas of the City. This program also includes plowing the approved sidewalk route and cleaning steps that are part of our sidewalk system. The approved sidewalk route is 20 kilometers of the total 55 kilometers of sidewalks in the City. Two Bombardier tracked sidewalk plows are used to clear snow from this designated route. When walking on snow covered surfaces, pedestrians are advised to take extra precautions, wear appropriate footwear and choose a sidewalk that has been cleared of snow (if one is available).
We have a specified route of sidewalks and steps that we maintain between the hours of 7:00 am - 3:00 pm on weekdays. It should be noted that these sidewalks and steps have limited or no plowing and sanding after 3: 00 pm on weekdays or on the weekends. These routes will not be maintained on Statutory Holidays
For all commercial sidewalks and all residential sidewalks not on our route, it is the responsibility of the property owner or occupier to clean the sidewalk and make it safe for pedestrians.
Sidewalk Snow Removal by Residents
As per Traffic Bylaw 3156 "Every owner or occupier of residential premises shall remove accumulation of snow or ice upon any constructed means of access including but not limited to sidewalks, stairs or driveways adjacent to the land or premises owned or occupied no later than 11:00 am of any day." (Amended by Bylaw No.3203)
Stairs are part of the sidewalk system and are cleaned and sanded by our day shift crew 7am to 3pm week days. Steps have limited or no plowing and sanding after 3: 00 pm on weekdays or on the weekends. These routes will not be maintained on Statutory Holidays
Widening streets entails pushing the windrows of snow on to adjacent boulevards. This is accomplished using three loaders equipped with blades and one loader with a snow blower.
The city is divided into three areas for special attention by our loaders: dead ends, steep and narrow streets. All of these areas are cleared prior to sanding. Choose a street area in the box below to view the map.
- View St. Loader Route Map [PDF - 99 KB]
- Cottonwood St. Loader Route Map [PDF - 103 KB]
- Rosemont Area Loader Route Map [PDF - 84 KB]
There are sandbox locations throughout the city, located on steep and dead end streets that are low priority. We maintain and fill the boxes with sand throughout the winter.
There is public access for winter sand under the orange bridge.
Typical Allocation of City Forces
We will have three employees working from 4 am to 12 noon, seven days a week. The primary duty of these employees is to prevent icy road conditions in the early mornings.
We will have three employees working from 3 pm to 11 pm, seven days a week. This shift may be extended in the spring to assist in winter sand clean-up. The primary duty of these employees is to prevent unsafe traveling conditions in Nelson.
We will have one employee working from 8:00 pm to 4:00 am on weekdays. The primary duty of this employee is to prevent unsafe travelling conditions in Nelson.
We will have three to six employees working from 7 am to 3:30 pm on weekends. The primary duty of these employees is to prevent unsafe traveling conditions in Nelson.
What are the hazards you should know about?
Dealing with snow is complex and is often conducted in adverse weather conditions. No two snowstorms are exactly alike, and our snow removal operators usually have to deal with the following:
- Decreased visibility, glare and reduced light
- Variable temperatures affecting ice and snow conditions
- Reduced traction
- Stranded, stuck and irate motorists
- Parked vehicles and objects that are hidden by snow
- The pressure of trying to get the job done
Please give our snow removal equipment the right of way - we are working to get everyone to their destinations safely. Please drive carefully and pay attention to road conditions. There are times that it makes sense to pull over and wait for a plow to come. Plan your route to take emergency or bus routes and avoid streets with steep grades. It can prevent a costly accident or a dangerous situation!
Please watch children to make sure they do not play in or on the snow windrows near the street. This is a very hazardous activity and could endanger their lives.
Notice to Motorists, Businesses & Residents
The City of Nelson will endeavor to provide the best level of snow removal service possible. Residents and businesses can provide assistance to City maintenance crews by observing the following practices and bylaws during snow removal season:
City street parking: "From November 1st to April 30th each year, vehicles are required to be parked on the odd numbered side of the street on odd numbered dates on the calendar; and be parked on the even numbered side of the street on corresponding even numbered dates on the calendar within all residential zones so as not to obstruct the City's snow clearing operations on residential streets during the winter months." (*) If you live on a street that does not have parking on both sides of the street or if your street is too narrow, move your vehicle around the corner of the adjoining street. This practice will allow us to plow close to the curbs and maintain maximum street width. If you have off-street parking available, please do not park on the street.
Keep parked cars clear of snow for easy visibility to plow operators. Do not leave vehicles and trailers parked on City streets for more than 72 consecutive hours. If leaving town without your vehicle, make provisions to have it cleaned of snow and moved regularly. Under City bylaw, violating vehicles may be towed and impounded at the owner's expense.
Do not shovel snow from a sidewalk, boulevard or driveway back onto a plowed street.
According to City bylaw, "Every owner or occupier of a business premises shall remove any accumulation of snow or ice upon any sidewalk abutting the land or premises owned or occupied by the person not later than 11 a.m. of any day except Sunday or holidays." When clearing downtown sidewalks, please do not push the snow into the amenity areas.
"Every owner or occupier of residential premises shall remove accumulation of snow or ice upon any constructed means of access including but not limited to sidewalks, stairs or driveways adjacent to the land or premise owned or occupied no later than 11:00 a.m. of any day." (*)
When driving around the City during severe winter conditions, try to follow the transit bus routes. [see Nelson Transit map [PDF - 141 KB]] These routes get first priority for plowing and sanding. Consideration should also be given to riding the bus rather than driving.
Motorists should reduce driving speed and try to avoid the steep hills during severe winter conditions.
The City's sidewalk snow plowing program states that designated, high traffic sidewalks will be plowed of snow by the Operations department. Of the streets in the program, only one side of the sidewalk will be cleared of snow. When walking on snow-covered surfaces, pedestrians are advised to take extra precautions, wear appropriate footwear, and choose a sidewalk that has been cleared of snow (if one is available).
For the safety of your children, do not allow them to make snow forts in snow banks, or toboggan on City streets.
(*) as per Bylaw No. 3203, amends City of Nelson Traffic Bylaw No. 3156
Thank you for your cooperation.
Annual Snowfall - 226 cm = 88" = 7.34'
Personnel / Man Hours for snow removal - for 2011 it was 7,900 man hours or 993 man days
Number of sets of stairs that are cleared of snow and ice (and sanded)
- Number of sets of stairs - 73
- Total number of stairs (excluding platforms) - 1420
How many kms of road - 67 kms (201 kms of roadway when multiply for TWO lanes of driving and ONE lane of parking).
How many kms of sidewalks --- 21.7km of the city's 63.7km of sidewalks are plowed during the winter.
How much sand - an average of 5,000 tonnes of sand during the winter.Go to Top