Heavy snowfall can lead to lighter wallets if residents don’t have their sidewalks cleared.
Duncan, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Victoria and Saanich are among the many Island communities that have bylaws requiring residents and businesses to clear sidewalks.
Victoria and Saanich’s bylaws both state that they must be cleared by 10 a.m., and Victoria residents who fail to comply could be fined $125. Barrie Cockle, Victoria’s manager of bylaw services said that they will respond to complaints, but look to educate rather than fine.
Residents who are out of town or physically unable to clear sidewalks are still required to sort out snow clearing.
Greater Victoria largely relies on neighbours to help those who can’t get out themselves.
“Typically what we see, are neighbours are pretty conscious of the fact the their neighbour may be old, or have mobility issues,” said Darryl Clark, a yard clerk with Oak Bay Public Works. “A lot of people in Oak Bay have gardeners that include [shovelling] as part of their services.”
Ed Boogaars, a bylaw enforcement officer with Oak Bay, said if he investigates a residential snow clearing complaint and discovers an elderly resident, he aims to find them help clearing. Despite a $50 fine on the books for failure to clear snow, Boogaars can’t remember ever issuing one.
Cockle said Victoria handles those situations similarly.
“At the end of the day we would to try and help seniors, but we don’t have the staff to go around and clear everybody’s pathways and sidewalks,” Cockle said. “But we’re not going to conduct enforcement on a senior who can’t clear their pathway.”
Check with your municipality for the regulations in your neighbourhood.
Environment Canada says another 10 to 15 centimetres could fall starting Monday afternoon.