Snow & Ice on Roads

City snow and ice control is provided by city employees and equipment supplemented with rented private sector equipment and operators in all areas of the City of Vernon including Okanagan Landing and Blue Jay Subdivision.

Questions & Answers About Snow Operations
What are the sanding/plowing priorities?

Sanding and plowing priorities are established based on the volume of traffic and the steepness of the terrain. The main streets, or arterials, are completed first. Local or residential roads are completed following the main streets. Lanes and cul-de-sacs are plowed last.

Why haven't the plow trucks plowed my street?

During a snow fall, plow trucks will only plow main streets. Depending on the severity of the snow fall, it may take up to 36 hours following the end of the snow fall for all residential streets to be plowed.

Why does the City spray liquid on the roads in the winter?

The City may spray magnesium chloride on high priority streets in advance of and during a snow storm to improve road traffic safety. The liquid is applied at various concentrations depending on temperature and anticipated volumes of snow. The liquid helps prevent snow and ice from bonding to the road surface. The anti-icing program is a proactive approach used in an attempt to improve road safety at the start of a winter storm as opposed to conventional reactive snow removal practices.

Why can’t the City remove the snow from my driveway entrance?

A significant investment in equipment and increase in the snow and ice control budget would be required to remove snow from over 6,000 driveways in the City. Our equipment plows snow to the right hand side of the road, and we rely on residents and businesses to remove the snow from their driveways. This service is the most economical for taxpayers.

Please remember when shovelling your driveway to always pile the snow on the left side of the driveway (facing the property). This will give you a better line of vision of the traffic coming and when our plows go by, we will not drag your shovelled piles back into your driveway entrance. Always keep spring thaw in mind when selecting where to pile the snow.

May I place the snow from my driveway onto the travelled portion of the street?

No, do not place snow on the street. The placing of snow on the travelled portion of the roadway is not permitted under the City’s Traffic Control Bylaw. This regulation helps to ensure that potentially dangerous situations are avoided.

Why does the plow go by once, and after I clean my sidewalks and driveway, the plow comes by again?

Plow trucks are used to clear a single lane and get traffic moving. Following heavy snowfalls, graders and loaders may come back to your street to push back wind rows to ensure that there is adequate room for future snow falls.  The City attempts to avoid plowing snow onto sidewalks.

Why are there piles of snow in the centre of the road downtown?

The Operations Department plows the snow to the centre of the street in early morning so the parking areas are not blocked with snow. This snow is usually removed the following night with a snow blower and trucks.

Why can’t the trucks plow all the snow to the other side of the street where there are no sidewalks or driveways?

The snowplows are designed to plow snow to the right hand side. In order to plow all the snow to one side, the equipment would have to drive on the wrong side of the road creating an unsafe traffic situation. This would also take more time, meaning streets not serviced yet would have to wait longer.

What snow plowing is done by the Provincial Highways Department in the City of Vernon?

The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure contracts a highway maintenance company to take care of the road maintenance on Highway 97 and Highway 6 through the City.

Who is responsible for clearing the sidewalk in front of my property?

The Good Neighbour Bylaw # 4980 requires the owner or occupier of property to remove snow and ice from sidewalks or footpaths bordering his/her property within 24 hours following the end of a snowfall. If the property owner fails to clear the sidewalk, the Bylaw Enforcement Officer has the authority to remove the snow at the property owner’s expense.

The City of Vernon Operations Department and Parks Department remove snow from all paved linear trails, sidewalks adjacent to civic buildings, and sidewalks fronting major arterial routes including 27th Street, Highway 6, and Highway 97. If you wish to report a sidewalk area not cleared, please call the Bylaw Enforcement at 250-550-3505.   

I am a senior citizen and I have trouble shovelling my sidewalk and/or driveway. What can I do?

Hopefully a volunteer neighbour, or a relative, will assist you. Alternatively, a maintenance service or young person in the neighbourhood could be hired for your snow removal needs.

How can I help the City with snow and ice removal?

One of the main obstacles for equipment operators is parked vehicles and recreational vehicles on snow routes. Once the snow starts, removing your vehicles from the street, cul-de-sac, or alley until the roads are cleared will allow the operators to do a much better job. Residents are reminded to plow sidewalks adjacent to your property and to please plow snow from sidewalks and driveways to front yard areas where possible. Snow plowed onto roadways reduces road snow storage areas and creates a hazard for motorists.

How can I be more safe this winter?

Allow yourself additional time to arrive at your destination. Drive according to weather conditions and yield to snow plows and sanders, which must plow and sand the centre line of the road at times.

As a pedestrian, always wear appropriate footwear and reflective clothing.

Please remember that snow and ice control is not a substitute for cautious and defensive driving practices when operating a vehicle under winter conditions.