Snow Removal Changes
Interested in Snow Removal and how decisions are made? Have questions you’d like to ask? Curious as to results of surveys? Visit YourML! You can also subscribe to this project on yourmeadowlake.ca/snow-removal. Asking your questions on the project page where they will also be answered is helpful as there will then be a record of questions asked and answered for everyone to read.
With the 2023-2024 winter season approaching the City has updated our plans for snow removal. Our goal is to achieve a more coordinated and efficient response to remove snow and improve public safety. Please see the below information sections and FAQ's that have been updated for the upcoming season.
The 2023-2024 changes include:
- Downtown / Core Sidewalks and Alleys Pilot Program
- New requirements for all other City sidewalks (property owners must clear them and do ice control throughout the city)
- New definition of what it means to clear a sidewalk
- New snow route parking regulations for 8th Ave W between 3rd St W and Centre St
What is Snow Removal?
“Snow Removal” means the full task of performing all three of the following phases to remove snow from a location: Plowing, Clearing and Hauling, to clear a location of snow as completely as possible within reason.
“Plowing” means using the blades of city equipment to remove or level some of the snow in a location to create passable lanes for traffic, but not always clearing it to the pavement or creating a windrow; this is generally the first stage of Snow Removal.
“Clearing” this is clearing a location of snow down to the pavement level where possible including moving snow into windrows where needed; this is generally the second stage of Snow Removal.
“Hauling” means the act of moving snow from one location (such as a road or sidewalk or windrow) to a different location; this is generally the third and final step in Snow Removal and often includes using the City’s snowblower to blow snow into trucks to be taken away.
Your help keeps snow removal costs down. We need your help to:
- remove the ridge of snow for your driveway access. The City doesn’t have the staffing or resources to eliminate ridges from driveways.
- clear access to water meter readers and other utilities.
- keep your sidewalk clear.
Priorities for Plowing and Clearing roads are established with the intent to provide the greatest benefit to the majority of the travelling public, and consider factors such as traffic volumes, emergency services routes, and road classification. The following priority areas for plowing and clearing are indicated in the Appendix A map below:
Priority I Roads (PINK)
Arterial and Emergency Services: As shown on the map, Priority 1 includes all roads determined as main routes for access to the Hospital, RCMP Detachment and Fire Station.
Priority II Roads (ORANGE)
Schools and Downtown: As shown on the map, Priority 2 includes roads determined as main routes for access to schools, and local businesses, including the remainder of the downtown core and service roads.
Priority III Roads (GREEN)
Primary Residential and Industrial Roads: As shown on the map, Priority 3 includes all paved residential through roads not already included in Priority 1 or 2, as well as the industrial business area.
Priority IV Roads (BLUE)
Local Residential Roads: As shown on the map, Priority 4 includes all remaining residential roads that serve local traffic only, including crescents, cul-de-sacs, and streets East of 3rd Street East.
CLICK THE MAP BELOW TO ENLARGE
BACK-ALLEYS / LANES
With the exception of certain designated alleys (see Appendix B Map below) which are generally lanes and alleys behind apartment / condominium complexes that do not have street access, and alleys/lanes that need to be cleared at the city’s own facilities, back-alley Plowing is generally not performed at any time during the winter months.
**NEW ** However, for the 2023-2024 season Council has approved a pilot program for City clearing of certain downtown and core alleys. The work in the downtown area will be contracted out under this pilot program for the 2023-2024 season. A tender will be issued for this in September.
Other than in the downtown core which will be under contract for the 2023-2024 season, alleys may be Plowed where conditions are deemed warranted at the direction of the Public Works Manager, but there is no guarantee for this work. Alleys are generally Plowed after Snow Removal on roads, or at the same time as the neighbouring roads are being Plowed at the direction of public works. Snow Removal requests for Back Alleys/Lanes must be requested using the standard Service Request system through City Hall, with the requestor providing justification of where and why the Snow Removal action is needed. The Public Works Manager will deem whether the work is warranted or possible.
CLICK THE MAP BELOW TO ENLARGE
Removing windrows and hauling away snow may not always immediately follow the plowing and clearing phases of snow removal. Equipment availability, timing and road widths must be taken into consideration.
Due to the narrow widths of the below roads, the City will be performing all stages of snow removal consecutively when it is their turn for snow removal as per the City’s priority routes. These roads will have “no street parking” signs put out 24 hours before snow is plowed, cleared and hauled away. It is advised to pay attention to these intersections after a snow event so snow removal can happen as quickly as possible. No street parking notices are also made using our VoyentAlert! system.
- Semchuk Drive and Jackson Drive
- Coupland and Dunfield Crescents
- Stack, Morin and Marion Crescents
- Charpentier, Carter and Ducluzeau Places
- Evans Place and Esau Street
- Palenchuk Place
- Fournier Drive
- the 500 block of 3rd Street West (in front of old Lodge) – not signed.
Due to traffic congestion and on-street residential parking, Snow Removal for the above roads will typically be performed after 9:00 a.m.
CLICK THE MAP BELOW TO ENLARGE
Snow Route Parking Ban
With the changes in snow removal for the 2023-2024 season, there is now a new Snow Route Parking Ban. The only area currently designated to be signed for this parking restriction is 8th Avenue West between 3rd Street W and Centre Street. This section of 8th Avenue West between 3rd Street W and Centre Street provides a challenge for snow removal and emergency services as it is next to the hospital. The ambulances require a wide turning radius and parked vehicles make it difficult for road crews to clear snow for the ambulance to enter and exit. This new snow route parking ban will assist crews in effective snow removal to allow safe and efficient access for emergency services into and out of the hospital.
This is essentially the new process for this stretch of road:
- As soon as there's 4" of snow and the Public Works Manager calls in the road crews a Snow Route Parking Ban may be declared. This will go out in local media (radio, etc.), Voyent Alert and the City's website and Facebook. We will provide at least 4 hours notice (where practical), and a parking ban will generally be effective no earlier than 8 am or no later than 11 pm (where practical). The same process will happen again if a ban is re-declared (if the snow continues and crews need to start over) and when a ban is lifted.
- Any vehicles parking in the restricted zone while the ban is in effect will be towed. The fine for parking in this area when a ban is in effect is $250 plus towing costs.
- A ban will generally last no more than 24 hours or until the snow has been completely removed (including windrows), whichever is sooner, unless persistent snowfall requires that a parking ban has to be re-declared.
- Public Works will endeavor to have the snow blower follow as closely behind the grader as they can on this road to reduce the amount of time the ban is in effect (similar to what they now do on the signed snow removal routes on crescents/cul de sacs/narrower streets).
- The City will allow that once all snow has been removed from the street including the windrows having been completely removed, that people can again park in the zone even if the ban has not officially been lifted. They will just need to keep an eye and an ear out to see if it has been redeclared.
Q: When will the City plow my road?
- Snow removal on roads is divided into priority routes within our Snow Removal Policy. There are different levels of service for the three stages of Snow Removal which are Plowing, Clearing and Hauling. See the information listed above for the maps and priority routes related to Snow Removal.
Q: Do I have to move my vehicle off the road during snow removal? How will I know when it needs to be moved?
- You need to remove vehicles from the street during Snow Removal. Narrow Roads that are signed (at the main entrance of the road) give 24 hours notice to remove the vehicle or it may be towed. On 8th Street West between 3rd Street West and Centre Street, you will need to remove your vehicle once a Snow Route Parking Ban is declared and as long as it is in effect. We recommend signing up for VoyentAlert as declared bans, notice of signing of a street, etc. are all posted through that system. It is a service provided free of charge.
Q: What happens if I have a driveway ridge that makes it hazardous to get in and out of my property?
- The City tries to ensure snow ridges remain in the curb lane, not on sidewalks. If the snow ridge is left at your driveway, blocking intersection sight-lines or making driving hazardous, you can report the location using our online Service Request form or by calling 306-236-3622 during business hours.
Q: Will my back alley be cleared? Why doesn't the city clear ALL back alleys?
- With the exception of certain designated alleys (see Appendix B map from the Snow Removal policy in the above page) which are generally lanes and alleys behind apartment / condominium complexes that do not have street access, and alleys/lanes that need to be cleared at the city’s own facilities, back-alley Plowing is generally not performed at any time during the winter months. New for 2023-2024, the City is contracting out snow removal for certain downtown back alleys.
Alleys may be Plowed where conditions are deemed warranted at the direction of the Public Works Manager, but there is no guarantee for this work. Alleys are generally Plowed after Snow Removal on roads, or at the same time as the neighbouring roads are being Plowed at the direction of public works. Snow Removal requests for Back Alleys/Lanes must be requested using the standard Service Request system through City Hall, with the requestor providing justification of where and why the Snow Removal action is needed. The Public Works Manager will deem whether the work is warranted or possible.
Q: Why doesn’t the City remove ridges in front of driveways or clear back alleys?
- We perform snow removal on residential roads, but not driveways. We also only plow certain alleys as indicated in our Snow Removal Policy. There is a pilot program for 2023-2024 for the City to do snow removal on certain downtown back alleys. That work will be contracted out. The cost to tax payers for increasing our levels of service to remove driveway ridges and plow all back alleys is prohibitive.
Interested in Snow Removal and want to stay up to date? Have questions you’d like to ask? Consider following this project on yourmeadowlake.ca/snow-removal, and asking your questions on the project page where they will also be answered. This is helpful as there will then be a record of questions asked and answered for everyone to read.
*NEW* Downtown / Core Sidewalks
For the 2023-2024 winter season, Council has made the changes needed in our policies and bylaws to allow us to run a pilot program for our downtown and other core sidewalks. The City will be contracting out snow removal on downtown sidewalks and alleys. (Watch sasktenders.ca for a tender to be posted for this in September. Bidders can bid either on sidewalks or alleys or both.)
We have also extended the sidewalk snow removal already done by our own departments. The City will now also be doing snow removal on the rest of Centre Street (both sides) from 4th Ave W all the way down to 9th Ave W, as well as along the north side of 9th Ave W all the way to 5th Street W.
The map below shows the sidewalks that will be cleared and specifies which are going to be done under a contract and which will be done by City departments. They will also be cleared to a higher service standard than previous, as we have changed the definition in our bylaw for exactly what it means to clear a sidewalk.
This is a pilot program to see how it works and what the costs are. Administration will review after the season is over and provide a report to Council who will then determine if further change is needed or if this program will continue on a permanent basis.
To confirm anyone with property adjacent to these City/Contractor cleared sidewalks will not have to clear them. The City or it's contractor will be doing so.
CLICK MAP BELOW TO ENLARGE
*NEW* All Other Sidewalks
Other than properties along the new downtown / core routes noted above where the city or its contractor will be doing sidewalk snow removal, all owners/occupants throughout the city are now required to perform snow removal on the sidewalk (where one exits) immediately adjacent to their own property only. You are not required to cross the street to shovel the sidewalk in front of someone else’s property. The previous school route collector zones are no longer in effect as this requirement is now for all sidewalks in the City, not just specific zones.
This will not only improve pedestrian safety, but also accessibility for those in our community who use things like wheelchairs, scooters, strollers, as well as for our children, senior citizens or who have low or impaired vision. Improving the walkability and accessibility of our City is important to the quality of life of those who live, work, play and visit here.
This is the first year of the new requirements and we will be doing soft enforcement only to give people a chance to get used to the new requirements. Because we are only doing soft enforcement, while there will be improved accessibility, it may not be very consistent across all sidewalks this season.
When clearing your sidewalk, please remember the following:
- You will need to clear or remove all snow, ice and/or other loose debris from any sidewalk adjacent to your property within forty-eight (48) hours of the time when the snow, ice or other loose debris was formed or deposited thereon. This means within 48 hours after the end of a weather event causing snow or ice or debris to form on the sidewalk. (There will be some leeway given for larger storms or continuous snowfall.)
- Proceed with caution and avoid injury to or undue interference with any person lawfully using the sidewalk, and avoid causing damage to the sidewalk or curbs.
- Any snow removed off the sidewalk is to be placed on the owner’s adjacent private property.
- If placing snow on your own property is impractical, you may place the snow or ice or other loose debris from the sidewalk in the boulevard or roadway adjacent to the sidewalk, but must do so in a manner that does not create a hazard or interfere with the use of the roadway or cover storm drains or cause difficulty for those parking on the road.
- The City will make a sand/salt pile available to property owners and residents at no charge to use on their sidewalks.
How will it be enforced?
- There will be soft enforcement only for the upcoming season which means warnings are given before fines or orders to remedy are issued. Though all areas will be enforced, enforcement efforts will be focused on higher traffic areas.
- The penalty for failing to comply with these requirements includes a fine of $25 for a first offence, and $50 for additional offences. A property owner will also receive an order to remedy to complete the work, and if the City has to complete the work on their behalf, the costs of doing so will be billed back to the property owner and if unpaid applied to their property taxes.
See our the FAQ section below for more information.
Q: Why isn’t everyone required to remove snow on their sidewalks?
- They are now, except for certain properties along downtown and core sidewalks. The City will be doing a pilot program and taking over snow removal on certain downtown sidewalks and alleys as well as other core sidewalks. Please see the general sidewalk information above for a map of which sidewalks are under the new program. Everywhere else in the City, people will now be required to clear their own sidewalks. This was a change made for the 2023-2024 winter season.
Q: Who clears which sidewalks? Will the City Clear theirs?
- The city clears sidewalks in front of city property. We also clear the asphalt walking path, and the sidewalk on 5th Street W from 9th to where it ends at Lions Park, as well as on the North side of 9th Ave W from the mall to Centre Street, as well as Centre Street all the way up to 4th Ave W. The City is also doing downtown this year, but will be contracting the downtown work out. Please see the sidewalk info above for those maps. Keep in mind, that the City doesn't clear all alleys in the City, therefore the sidewalks adjoining the alleys (outside of the Downtown and Core alleys) are not prioritized for snow removal. If you see one of these sidewalks that needs clearing please feel free to do so, or send in an e-service request to the City (https://meadowlake.ca/p/e-service-request). You are required to shovel snow onto your own property, but we recognize there are situations where this isn't reasonable. In those cases (and only those cases) it may be shoveled onto a boulevard or into the street providing it doesn't cause difficulties for those using the street such as for parking.
Q: I have a rental property. Who has to shovel in front of that place?
- As the property owner, you are required to clear the sidewalk. It is up to you if you ask your tenants to do that service for you. If you do, keep in mind if it is not done, you as the property owner are ultimately the one responsible.
Q: What happens if I don’t clear my sidewalk?
- If you have a sidewalk, you are required to clear it. For the 2023-2024 winter season, the City will be doing soft enforcement which means people will receive warnings for first offences. If you don't do the work after receiving a warning, you may receive a fine and/or an Order to Remedy to complete the snow removal. If you don't pay the fine you could end up being summoned to court. If you don't comply with an order to remedy, the City may have the work done and bill it back to you. Unpaid bills may also be added to property taxes.
Q: My property is along the walking path, do I need to clear the snow?
- The city will be clearing the ASPHALT portions of the new walking path only. Any existing concrete sidewalks that are considered connector routes to help people get from one part of the asphalt path to another (such as Bridger, the concrete portion of LaRocque, and the section of 3rd Street E from 4th Ave up to Highway #55). These areas will not be cleared by the city. Property owners along these routes are now required to clear those sidewalks.
Q: If I can't clear my sidewalk, where can I get help?
- There are many contractors in and around the City who can be paid to perform snow removal for you. You can ask for help from family, friends or neighbors. Community groups and friendly citizens and neighbours may also act as Snow Angels helping others in the community. The city is not keeping a list of people who need help, but we are putting together a list of both snow angels (snow removal for free or by donation), and contractors (snow removal usually for a paid fee) who we can connect you with.
Q: How can I help those in the community who are unable to shovel their sidewalks?
- There are a few ways to help! If you are someone who is able to offer your help, please feel free to contact city hall and let us know if you are willing for us to give our your contact information out to people who are inquiring about getting help with snow removal.
- Snow Angels are members of the community, local non-profit or community service groups or businesses who volunteer, free of charge, to assist others with sidewalk snow removal.
- Some community groups may also request a donation in exchange for their service, if you will be requesting a donation in exchange for services and not offering a free service, please specify that to us when you contact us.
- If you are someone like a business who is able to offer paid contracted services for snow removal you can let us know as well, sometimes people are willing to pay for snow removal, but they simply don't know who to call or ask.
Q: What does Snow Removal mean? Why are piles of snow left in the street?
- “Snow Removal” means the full task of performing all three phases to remove snow from a location (Plowing, Clearing and Hauling) to clear a location of snow as completely as possible within reason.
- “Plowing” means using the blades of city equipment to remove or level some of the snow in a location to create passable lanes for traffic, but not always clearing it to the pavement or creating a windrow; this is generally the first stage of Snow Removal. This stage may sometimes be skipped.
- “Clearing” this is clearing a location of snow down to the pavement level where possible including moving snow into windrows where needed; this is generally the second stage of Snow Removal.
- “Hauling” means the act of moving snow from one location (such as a road or sidewalk or windrow) to a different location; this is generally the third and final step in Snow Removal and often includes using the City’s snowblower to blow snow into trucks to be taken away.
- The pile of snow left in the street during Snow Clearing is called a Windrow. “Windrow” means snow that is temporarily pushed by the City’s equipment to the curb or boulevard or into the center of the road to allow for the passage of vehicles, but does not obstruct traffic flow. Windrows and Hauling of snow will not necessarily follow the Plowing and Clearing priority routes, as equipment availability, timing, and road widths must be taken into consideration.
Q: How does the City determine levels of service standards and priorities?
- The standard of service for snow removal is determined in consideration of the resources and staffing levels available to the City as set out in the annual budget agreed upon by City Council.
- The Snow Removal Bylaw and Policy are set by Council. The levels of service standards for snow removal are determined by Council in consideration of the resources and staffing levels available, and as set out in the annual budget approved by City Council. It is no secret that what people want in terms of levels of service is typically significantly more than what their tax dollars can actually pay for. It is a challenge for Councils to set levels of service in balance with setting property tax rates to do their best to act both fairly and reasonably for the community as a whole. But that doesn't mean that you as a citizen can't ask for change if you feel it is needed. There are a few ways your voice can help shape the decisions of Council when it comes to setting budget, levels of service standards and making changes to regulations.
- 2) Consider reading the document called A Citizen's Guide to Shaping Council Decisions available doe download here https://pubsaskdev.blob.core.windows.net/pubsask-prod/104661/104661-2017-Citizens-Guide-To-Shaping-Council-Decisions.pdf.
- 3) If you're planning to write to Council to make a specific request or ask that they take action on a matter, please review the FAQ and information on our website for how to shape your request: https://meadowlake.ca/p/meetings-requests . Please be aware that, for the most part, correspondence and requests sent to Mayor & Council are public information as they are generally presented to Council at a public meeting.
- 4) You also have a voice in who represents you and the community as a member of Council. The next election is in 2024. Consider running for Council yourself or nominate someone you think would serve the community well. Mostly importantly make sure you get out and vote in the election. Representation matters. Every vote makes a difference.
Q: What sort of timeline is "following a snow event"?
- When a timeline begins “following a snow event”, this means that the timer starts when the snow stops falling. If the snow is falling continuously for multiple days, some work to keep routes reasonably clear may be performed before the snow has completely stopped, especially for emergency services in terms of roads, or for sidewalks to prevent it from becoming too packed down due to foot traffic.
Q: I have flower pots, a driveway ramp, and other landscaping items that are in my yard but on City property. Will they be safe during Snow Removal?
- The City only permits non-permanent items to be placed AT YOUR OWN RISK on the road allowance that you use as part of your yard between October 1 - April 1 in each year, subject to enforcement. The City is not responsible for damage to any permanent or non-permanent items placed on City property. We also recommend clearly flagging any permanent items so they can be easily seen by our equipment operators.
Q: Where do I put the snow I'm clearing from my driveway?
- The snow you remove from your driveway needs to remain on your property. Do not push snow into the road, you may receive a ticket or order to remedy if you push snow into city roads. Clear snow effectively from your driveway to reduce the chance of a snow berm being created when your road is cleared.
Q: Where do I put the snow I'm clearing from the sidewalk?
- Any snow removed off the sidewalk is to be placed on the owner’s adjacent private property. However, if placing snow on your own property is impractical, you may place the snow or ice or other loose debris from the sidewalk in the boulevard or roadway adjacent to the sidewalk, but must do so in a manner that does not create a hazard or interfere with the use of the roadway or cover storm drains or cause difficulty for those parking on the road.
Parking: It is advised that residents avoid parking their vehicles on the roads during Snow Removal operations, and to move vehicles to a driveway wherever possible. The City is not responsible for Clearing or Hauling Windrows away from vehicles that have been left on the road during Snow Removal operations.
Landscaping, shrubs, fencing, ornaments, flower beds, ramps, etc: Any landscaping, trees, shrubs, plants, fencing, ornaments, flower beds or any other structure or material that is above the normal grade of the lot and is placed between the curb and the front lot line of the owner's property is placed at the owner’s risk. The City will not be responsible for any damages to property within the municipal right-of way caused by the grading or pushing of snow during snow removal.
- Where non-permanent items or fixtures such as ramps, yard ornaments, flower pots and such have been placed between the curb and the front lot line of the owner’s property, they must be removed on or before October 1st each year and may not be placed or replaced until on or after April 1st of each year.
- The City recommends in all cases under 7(a) that property owners flag any permanent item or structure so they can be seen in the winter for snow removal purposes; provided, however, that the City is not liable for damage to any such items or structures whether or not they have been flagged.