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Snow Clearing and Removal

There are a number of factors including temperature, forecasts and precipitation that determine how and when plowing, salting or sanding takes place. 

Road crews work hard to keep priority roads as clear as possible to ensure the safety of drivers and allow for emergency vehicles to respond quickly and safely. Snow clearing routes are designed to minimize duplication and maximize efficiency. Using Provincial guidelines set out in the Municipal Act, roads are classified based on their intended use (for instance, traffic volumes and speed limits) and maintained accordingly.

Our goal is to clear snow and ice as quickly as possible and have one snow plow pass on all streets within 24 hours after a snow event. However, during heavy snow and ice storms, snow removal will take longer and it may not be possible to reach residential areas until after the storm event has ended. Plan your day according to the weather! Please remember to give yourself extra time to get where you need to go, and take into consideration delays that are common during the winter season.

Order of Priority

  1. Major arterial roads and bus routes
  2. Major collector roads and industrial areas
  3. Local residential streets
  4. Cul-de-sacs and dead end streets

Depending on the severity of the snow event, it may take some time for our plows to get to your area and we ask you to be patient while our staff work hard to clear the streets.

During and after a snow event we receive numerous calls asking us to come out and clear the streets. Snow clearing routes have been designed to minimize duplication. Pulling a snow plow from its designated route to clear another is not cost efficient. Our staff work hard keeping the roads clear of snow and ice. Please be kind to them.

How You Can Help

By following these tips, you can improve road safety and help us increase the efficiency of our snow removal operations by allowing us to plow properly with one pass.

  • Do not park on the street until after the snow has been cleared. Remember, vehicles are not permitted to park on city streets from Dec. 1 to March 31 between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Give snow plows plenty of room as they may need to back up.
  • Pile all snow from your driveway and sidewalks on your property. It is illegal to push snow onto the road. 
  • On your garbage and recycling collection day, place garbage bags and recycling containers close to the road edge but in your driveway so that they don't interfere with snow removal or get lost in the snow drifts.
  • Remind children not to play on snow banks near the road.
  • You can help us by clearing catch basins in front of your property to avoid flooding in your area during thaws.
  • You can help our Fire Department by removing snow from around fire hydrants in front of your property.

Sidewalk Snow and Ice Clearing

Property owners must clear the sidewalks around their property of both snow and ice within 24 hours of a snowfall. These sidewalks must be maintained to bare pavement on an ongoing basis. 

If a complaint is received, a bylaw officer will be sent to inspect the sidewalk. If the sidewalk has not been cleared, residents will have 24 hours to clear the snow and ice from their sidewalk. If it is not cleared within the time specified on the notice, the City will have a contractor clear the sidewalk and the cost will be added to the tax bill. 

Notices will not be issued in instances where the residents have obviously cleared their curb-faced sidewalk, but road plows push the snow back on the sidewalk. Public Works will clear snow from these curb-faced sidewalks once all roads have been plowed.

Reporting a Problem

If you wish to report a sidewalk that has not been cleared 24 hours after the end of a snow storm event, you may call the Engineering Office at 519-539-2382 ext. 3104 or 3102. Please be sure to leave the following information for an investigation to begin - full name, address and phone number of the caller, and the address of where the sidewalk has not been cleared.

Snow Buddies

Interested in volunteering? Becoming a Snow Buddy is a great way to earn volunteers hours and help out your neighbours! Buddies must be 12 years of age or older, and must participate in a free training session hosted by the City. The Snow Buddies program will reopen in winter 2024. 

Downtown Sidewalk Snow and Ice Clearing

Downtown is the heart of the community and our central commercial area. To help visitors get around safely, business and property owners in downtown Woodstock, are required to clear the snow and ice from sidewalks fronting their businesses. 

For a complete list of requirements, see our Municipal Bylaw – Chapter 0513 Snow-Ice-Removal-Sidewalk.

Overnight and Temporary Parking

There is no on-street parking between Dec. 1 and March 31 each winter. For full parking restrictions visit our  parking webpage.

FAQs About Snow Removal

What number do I call if I have a concern? 

If it has been more than 48 hours after the snow event has stopped, and your street is not cleared, please contact us:

  • During Business Hours: Call Public Works at 519-539-2382 ext. 3104 or 3102, Mondays to Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • After Hours / Emergencies: Call Police Services at 519-537-2323 

Depending on the severity of the snow event, it may take some time for our plows to get to your area and we ask you to be patient while our staff work hard to clear the streets.

Our staff work hard keeping the roads clear of snow and ice. Please be kind to them.

Does the city clear all roads at once?

The City follows provincial guidelines set out in the Municipal Act, to prioritize winter road maintenance activities. Roads are classified by order of priority and maintained accordingly. Main and collector roads are plowed first to ensure that emergency service vehicles can get around the city safely and quickly. Residential streets are plowed after main and collector roads have been cleared of snow. When there are heavy snowfalls or back to back winter snow events, it may take longer to clear all the streets.

What are main roads, collector roads and residential through-streets?

Main roads are those with the greatest volume of traffic such as Dundas Street, Devonshire Avenue, Huron Street, Norwich Avenue and also streets that have bus routes.

Collector roads are roads that have less traffic than main roads and generally connect main roads to residential streets.

Residential roads have much less traffic than main roads and collector roads.

What should I do with snow I clear from my property?

Please pile the snow on your property. It is illegal and unsafe to push snow onto the road because it can lead to drainage issues and driving hazards.

Do not push snow on your neighbour's property unless you have their permission.

Please do not pile snow around fire hydrants so that our emergency services staff can access hydrants quickly. 

Make sure to leave space for your garbage and recycling bins. Staff will not climb snow banks to collect your waste. 

Why do plows go so fast and throw snow on my sidewalk? 

Plows must maintain a minimum speed to move snow off to the side. Our crews do not intentionally push snow to block sidewalks.

Some sidewalks are very close to the curb and it is difficult to avoid getting snow on them. if possible, please wait until you know our crews have been by your area before clearing the snow from these curb-faced sidewalks.

Our sidewalk snow clearing equipment will come around to clear snow from curb faced sidewalks once all the roads have been plowed at least once.

Why does the snow plow leave a windrow to block my driveway? 

Please understand our plow operators do not intentionally try and block driveways.

With the amount of driveways in the city, it is not practical for plow operators to lift their blades at every driveway. The operator has limited control over the amount and direction of snow that comes off the plow.

When clearing your driveway, try to pile the snow on the right side (standing in your driveway and looking towards the street). This can help reduce the amount of snow that is pushed onto your driveway when a plow passes.

The city does not clear the end of driveways. However, if you encounter unusually large windrows, please call us at 519-539-2382 ext. 3104 or 3102 and the public works supervisor will investigate.

Can the City remove snow they have put at the end my driveway?

Again, considering the large number of driveways in the city, it is too costly and time consuming to use additional personnel and equipment to perform this service. The city does not have the resources available to provide that level of service.

Residents are responsible for clearing the end of their driveways. If possible, please wait until the plow has passed before clearing the end of your driveway. If you are finding it difficult for whatever reason, perhaps you may need to look at hiring that service out either to someone/student in the neighbourhood or a landscaper/snow removal company. 

You may also qualify for the Snow Buddies program that matches those needing support with a volunteer person from your area to assist.  

Why does my lawn get damaged when the road or street plow goes by?

Our operators strive to minimize lawn damage; however some degree of damage is inevitable.

Deep or drifted snow conditions often completely hide the edge, making it difficult to avoid turf damage in the plowing process. To report turf damage, please call us at 519-539-2382 ext. 3104 or 3102.

Public works staff will review the damage in early spring and make repairs as weather permits.

Who is responsible for clearing snow around Canada Post super mailboxes?
Canada Post is responsible for clearing the snow and ice around super mailboxes. Contact Canada Post at 1-800-267-1177 for more information.
What if I am unable to clear the snow from my sidewalk because of age or disability?

Unfortunately, snow removal services are not available from the City. However, you may be eligible for the Snow Buddies program. The program matches those needing support with individuals (both volunteers and individuals requesting pay) from the community. 

Call 519-421-7665 or visit the Southside Aquatic Centre at 315 Finkle Street for more information.

Contact Us

© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7

 

Phone: 519-539-1291
Email: General Information

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