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Snow Clearing and Removal

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.

Street Snow Removal and Priority Areas

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. 

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

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.

Street Snow Clearing Priority Areas

  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

Things You Can Do To 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 December 1 to March 31 between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 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. Read the Ontario Highway Traffic Act - section 181 and the Municipal Bylaw 513.3.5 and 513.3.6 for more information
  • 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 as well as 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 remove snow from around fire hydrants in front of your property

Downtown Sidewalk Snow & Ice Clearing Responsibilities

In downtown Woodstock, merchants are required to clear the snow and ice from sidewalks fronting their businesses as per Municipal Bylaw – Chapter 0513 Snow-Ice-Removal-Sidewalk. Any occupant, any owner, and any person having charge, care or control of any house, building or lot fronting on the streets in the City of Woodstock listed in Schedule 'A' to this Chapter shall remove and clear away any accumulation of snow or ice from the sidewalk on that side of such street which is nearest to such house, building or lot between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. every day, except Sundays and statutory holidays. Follow the link provided for more details. The downtown core will be monitored by our bylaw enforcement staff and snow will be removed at cost to the owner.

Property Owner's Sidewalk Snow & Ice Clearing Responsibilities

The Municipal Bylaw - Chapter 0513 Snow-Ice-Removal Sidewalk states that every owner of a property within the municipal limits of the City of Woodstock (except for a property adjacent to the streets specified in Schedule ‘A’ unless used exclusively as an owner-occupied residence), shall within 24 hours of the cessation of a winter storm event or Significant Weather Event or within 24 hours of the cessation of a series of consecutive winter storm events, remove and clean all snow and ice from sidewalks abutting the highway in front of, or alongside, or at the rear of such owner’s property.  

It should be noted that Bylaw will not be enforcing the instances where the residents have obviously cleared their sidewalk before road plows later on push a substantial amount of snow back on the sidewalk that are curb-faced.  Public Works will address this issue once all roads have been plowed.

Clearing snow and ice from sidewalks is everyone responsibility as a property owner.  Please be mindful of keeping your sidewalks clear especially for children, parents using strollers and those who have mobility restrictions.

Follow the link to the municipal bylaw for additional details on the snow and ice removal responsibilities.

Non-compliant

By-law Enforcement Officers will follow up with residents who are noncompliant with a 24-HOUR NOTICE to clear the sidewalk from the date posted on the notice.  If the sidewalk is still not cleared within the specified time frame, the city will have a contractor remove the snow and ice at the cost of the resident/owner of the property and the amount will be added to their tax bill.

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 be begin - Full name, address and phone number of the caller, and the address of where the sidewalk has not been cleared.

Frequently Asked Questions about Snow Removal

What number do I call if I have a concern? 

Please be patient while you wait for plows to get to your area.  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 

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

Does the city clear all roads at once?

It simply is not possible. Using Provincial guidelines set out in the Municipal Act, roads are classified based on their intended use 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 successive winter events back to back, it may take longer to clear all the streets. See road clearing priorities above.
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 lead to main roads. Residential roads have much less traffic than main roads and collector roads.
 What should I do with snow I clear from my property?
Pile the snow on your property. It is illegal to push snow onto the road. (Chapter 0513 - Snow-Ice Removal-Sidewalks-Streets)  Also, putting snow on the road can lead to drainage issues and driving hazards. Do not push snow on your neighbour's property unless you have their permission. Please be careful not to pile snow around fire hydrants. Our emergency services staff need access to hydrants year round and timing is crucial.
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. Please wait until you know our crews have been by your area before clearing the snow from these curb-faced sidewalks. 
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 driveways. If you encounter unusually large windrows you may call us at  519-539-1291. 
 Can the city remove snow they have put at the end my driveway?
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 or the Snow Buddies program. More information below regarding the program.
Why does my lawn get damaged when the 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 519-539-1291. 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, the City does coordinate the Snow Buddies program for seniors and persons with disabilities. The program matches individuals (both volunteers and individuals requesting pay) from the community. 

Call the Southside Aquatic Centre for more information on this program and how to register at 519-421-7665 or visit them at 315 Finkle Street.

Interested in Volunteering!  This could be another way get school/community hours and help out a neighbour at the same time! Training includes customer service, safety, ergonomics, proper shoveling techniques, and more. This training program is offered in the Fall, and participants can register online, or call 519-421-7665 for details.

Snow Buddies

Overnight and Temporary Parking

For parking restrictions follow the link to our Parking webpage.

Contact Us

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

 

Phone: 519-539-1291
TTY: 519-539-7268
Email: General Information

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