Council seeks clarifications around Oliver’s snow and ice control policy

Snow conundrum

The Town of Oliver is looking to update its current Snow and Ice Control Policy to clarify what exactly the town does and does not do for its residents.

Sean Kennedy, Public Works Manager explained that last year the first large snow event caused a lot of people to complain to the town and he found that the old policy was unclear when it came to certain sections of road or sidewalks.

Kennedy explained that “one of the main things was to make it a more clear document for residents and for staff.”

He continued to say that there were guidelines that were never addressed in the policy such as steps, stairwells, and whether or not the town should be maintaining certain pathways.

Changes have been made to priority areas and levels, and mapping has been updated for transparency to the town’s residents. This updated version of the policy was brought to council where staff were directed to further update it and bring it to the next council meeting.

One of the main clarifications made in the policy is that “de-Icing and the application of abrasives on public sidewalks adjacent to private property will be the responsibility of the property owners.”

Wayne Anderson, Chief Administrative Officer explained that the town does not do de-icing. “On sidewalks, we did check with the Municipal Insurance Authority (MIA) with liability, we provide clearing of snow on sidewalks but not de-icing”.

The other main area of discussion was so called “windrows”, which are the piles of snow that build up on the curbs from clearing the snow off roads, and local businesses clearing their sidewalks onto the pile as well.

Councillor Petra Veintimilla queried whose responsibility it is on Main St. to create passageways through these piles and whether it be the responsibility of the town or business owners it should be written into the policy.

Councillor David Mattes agreed that this is a problem, saying “they literally get three feet tall and we expect people to crawl over it to get to our businesses.”

Veintimilla added that people have to either crawl over them or walk down the icy road to get around them. This led Mattes to suggest the idea of bulk removal of these piles during the nighttime. Town staff did not know how other towns did this, and will come back to the next meeting with a better answer.

The new and updated maps will be posted on the Town of Oliver website once approved for residents to see what roads and sidewalks are the town's priorities in removing snow.

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