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Cars driving while it snows

City keeps routes clear and provides warm spaces for people sleeping outside as part of continued cold weather response

January 14 2020 –

With more snow and freezing temperatures in the forecast, the City of Vancouver is reminding residents of winter preparedness strategies and support services available for those experiencing homelessness. 

Since last Thursday, City crews have been working 24/7 preparing for the freezing temperatures and snow which arrived over the weekend. Crews are making consistent, coordinated efforts to keep our key routes clear. We have 71 vehicles and 29 other equipment units, 10,000 tonnes of guaranteed salt supply, and hundreds of personnel available to deploy as required.

With temperatures remaining below freezing all week, our focus in the coming days will remain on keeping priority routes free of ice. Our salting units and ploughs are concentrating on bus routes, main routes and bridges, hospital routes, and the 15 most-used bike routes. Side streets will not be plowed as we focus on these critical routes.

Green Bin service is cancelled this week to allow crews to focus on snow clearing, salting, and garbage collection. Garbage service will continue as scheduled although delays are expected.

Clear your sidewalk

As always, residents and business owners can play a big role in ensuring snow doesn’t become hazardous for people with mobility challenges. It’s important that snow is cleared promptly from walkways and sidewalks before it hardens to ice. 

All property owners and occupants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10am the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week.

If you are unable to clear your walk and have no other alternatives, you are encouraged to sign up for the Snow Angel Program to be connected to a volunteer. The Snow Angel program helps match volunteers with seniors and people with mobility issues to help clear their sidewalks.

Sign up for the Snow Angel program

Warming centres and extra shelter space

Residents sleeping outside are again urged to visit warming centres or extreme weather shelters which are open in several locations across the city.

For the last two nights, warming centres have opened at Powell Street Getaway, Overdose Prevention Society, Britannia Community Centre and Vancouver Aquatic Centre, and welcomed approximately 600 people in total. These locations provide hot drinks and a safe space to anyone who needs it, including people who have pets and carts. Details of future openings of these facilities are attached.

The Province, in conjunction with Homelessness Services Association of BC and community organizations, also opens additional shelter spaces when extreme weather alerts are issued on evenings such as tonight when the temperature is 0 degrees or feels like 0.