As the snows start to fall, doing your bit for the city by clearing it from around your property is not just the right thing to do – as an Edmonton resident, it is your duty.
It’s no secret that the snow can hang around and pile up on the sidewalks and roads here. That’s why our city bylaws include strict regulations about clearing it.
All residents must follow these bylaws as part of their civic duties – or risk receiving a ticket.
So, this winter, home and business owners should brush up on the bylaws and make sure that when the white stuff starts to fall, you’re ready to start shovelling (or ready to call us to do it).
Here’s what you need to know about the City of Edmonton snow removal bylaws and how to avoid upsetting your fellow citizens over the coming months.
Why is it important to remove snow and ice?
Most Edmontonians don’t need to be told to clear snow. It’s just part of life.
But let’s say you’ve just moved to Edmonton from Victoria or Vancouver and you’re not used to our winter temperatures!
We’re truly a “winter city”. Our streets are often-icy and snowbound during the winter months, which is great for kids with sleds or Santa Claus but not so great for residents who need to get around.
It’s not only the snow but the freeze/thaw cycles that can create treacherous sidewalks and roads. Water from melting snow can run on to sidewalks and make them almost impossible to walk on.
Unless you clear the sidewalks around your property, you may contribute to slips and falls from passersby. For the elderly, this can result in life-threatening injuries. It’s also hazardous for city employees like garbage collectors.
You have a duty of care to other citizens to make the area around your home or business safe and passable. The City of Edmonton’s snow removal bylaws enforce this responsibility.
What do the Edmonton snow removal bylaws say?
The City of Edmonton’s snow removal laws fall under bylaw 14600 of the Community Standards Bylaw. This states that:
It’s best to remove snow and ice as soon as possible after the snowfall ends. If there is continuous snowfall for days, then clear it regularly. If the snow is freezing and thawing, pay special attention to avoid hazardous pathways.
Technically, you have a 48-hour grace period before action may be taken. If you do not attend to your duty, somebody in the local area may call the City of Edmonton and lodge a complaint against you.
When a complaint is lodged, the City sends out an inspector to investigate and a warning will be issued if the complaint is supported by evidence. You then have seven days to remove the snow. The inspector returns after seven days and if the snow has not been removed, you will receive a ticket.
Further complaints will lead to further tickets being issued immediately.
Which areas are the City responsible for?
You’re not expected to do all the snow clearing work. It is a joint responsibility for property owners and the City to keep pathways, roads, and public areas safe for residents.
The City does not have the resources to clear sidewalks in most residential or commercial areas, but it is responsible for certain other areas of the City, such as designated sidewalks bordering or on City property i.e. public schools, recreation centres or City Hall.
To facilitate the clearing of snow and ice, the City of Edmonton provides free sand at participating community leagues and Roadway Maintenance Yards.
Alternatively, you can purchase it from a local hardware store – or simply book the team at Yardworx to come and clear it.
The sand should be spread on icy patches on sidewalks or, even better, before the ice forms. As for snow, it is best to clear it as soon as possible after a snowfall to prevent it from packing down or forming ice.
While your duty is to your property, it is neighbourly to help anyone nearby who suffers from mobility issues or poor health.
Tips for clearing snow and ice
Be safe when clearing the snow. Back injuries, in particular, are quite common and it can be tough work. As such, the following tips from the City of Edmonton may help:
What are the fines if homeowners don’t clear the snow?
You need to take the residential snow removal Edmonton bylaws seriously.
Failure to properly follow your civic duty by making sidewalks around your property safe and accessible for all pedestrians can lead to:
Where are you allowed to shovel the snow to?
You cannot just shovel snow anywhere. Clearing your property is no benefit if, in doing so, you create hazards elsewhere around your property.
It may also increase the costs for the City in maintaining safe winter road conditions and lead to blocked storm drains.
What about the noise bylaws in Edmonton?
Some people may like to use motorized equipment to clear the snow and ice around their properties.
If you intend to do this, take note of the noise bylaws that apply here in Edmonton, which stipulate: