The Fairmont Empress Hotel and grounds sit dusted with snow during the Wednesday flurries. Photo courtesy Arlene Bethune

Victoria’s snow removal plan: what you need to know

The City advises how Victoria manages (the very rare) snowfall

Victoria is known for its glistening waterfront and long summer days – certainly not the few days a year that it’s dusted in snow.

Few residents are well-equipped for such weather, so here’s a breakdown of how the City of Victoria manages snowfall.

The City has a Severe Weather Response Plan detailing snow removal operations in Victoria. The guide’s first priority is to keep main arteries clear for emergency services, ensuring access to hospitals, fire stations and police headquarters and downtown wheelchair ramps.

The plan’s second priority is removing snow from senior care facilities, community centres and homeless shelters, in addition to transit stops and the front of downtown buildings.

The final priority is residential roads, parking lots, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

According to the City’s Streets and Traffic Bylaw, business owners and residents must clear snow and create a pathway to their property by 10 a.m. each day.

This bylaw includes the owners of apartment, condominium and townhouse complexes. Those who don’t comply risk a $125 fine per day, which can be issued up to six months after an offence has occurred.

With over 450 kilometres of sidewalks in Victoria, the City claims it would be too costly for taxpayer-funded removal of snow from all sidewalks.

Forecasts call for a chance of flurries and/or rain on Friday, slightly warmer Saturday and Sunday and a chance of flurries Monday and Tuesday evenings.

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