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PoCo approves snow-clearing policy

Blog by Rebecca Permack | December 16th, 2010

With policies in place, Port Coquitlam is ready to let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

As the official first day of winter quickly approaches, PoCo city council unanimously approved a snow and ice control service level policy that dictates which streets come first when the flakes begin falling.

The policy outlines the city’s approach to snow and ice removal with the aim being to balance public safety needs with traffic egress and pedestrian accessibility.

But according to a staff report to council, the policy also helps address potential liability issues.

“Each year during this season, there is a risk of snow and ice hazards throughout the city,” the staff report states. “Snow and ice conditions also add risk of claims against the city.”

As part of a civic risk-management program, the Municipal Insurance Association of B.C. has recommended council adopt policies on maintenance service levels of city infrastructure “as a defence against litigation.”

“Accidents happen and the city cannot prevent all accidents from happening,” the report states. “The courts have recognized that local governments have limited resources and that a formalized policy adopted by council that is followed and documented will assist with defending the city should a claim be filed.”

According to the policy, the city’s main objective is to reduce snow and ice hazards for emergency services, transit operations, motorists and pedestrians within the available budget.

The first priority will be clearing the major road network and arterial roads, in addition to steep hills, selected bus routes and school zones. Work will be undertaken between 3:30 a.m. and 11 p.m., and the operations director can authorize additional hours during extraordinary weather conditions.

Once conditions improve on those routes, crews will begin maintenance on collector roads and streets in residential and industrial areas. As a third priority, lanes will be the last place snow ploughs visit.

“The city does not remove snow and ice to bare pavement conditions. The travelling public is expected to be properly prepared, equipped and use caution when travelling during winter periods,” the policy states.

As far as pedestrians are concerned, walkways, stairs, ramps, landings, sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, parks, trails and parking lots owned by the city will be sanded, salted or cleared of snow as resources become available. Municipal buildings, parking lots and dedicated sidewalk routes will be first priorities, followed by dedicated trails and municipal parks.

Residents, however, are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks adjacent to their home.

Courtesy: Coquitlam Now - by Simone Blais