Property owners in New Westminster face a $150 daily fine for failing to clear their sidewalks of snow.
Aaron Hilgerdenaar, superintendent of street-use enforcement, parking and animal services, said the city’s street and traffic bylaw requires all owners and occupiers to clear all sidewalks abutting their property of snow and ice, including bus stops and curb letdowns, by 10 a.m. on the day after the snow was deposited.
“The goal of this is to ensure that all residents can use city sidewalks to travel to their destinations safely, including seniors and those with limited mobility,” he said in an email to the Record. “It is important to note how impactful blocked sidewalks are for those that rely on them; everyone has an obligation to do their part.”
Hilgerdenaar said residents are better off removing snow immediately to avoid problems later, especially with heavy snow accumulation and cold temperatures that lead to icy conditions.
“Slip-and-fall accidents can be common during the winter months. Thorough snow removal and salting can help in preventing such accidents, but ongoing maintenance to keep sidewalks safe will help reduce the liability property owners could face,” he said. “Many people have been doing an excellent job with their sidewalks and we appreciate that.”
When out shovelling, Hilgerdenaar said it really helps to clear any drains adjacent to your property, especially during melting conditions.
“Blocked catch basins may result in excess water along the road area, which can become dangerous if it subsequently freezes,” he explained. “Blocked catch basins can also lead to flooding of adjacent properties.”
Weather forecasts suggests there will be snow or flurries in New West through to Friday, before the temperature rises and the rain returns on the weekend.
“City staff are fully mobilized to address this snow event on roads, city properties, pathways and parks, but we need everyone to do their part to ensure sidewalks are cleared,” Hilgerdenaar said. “Bylaw officers are following up on complaints and doing proactive enforcement of pedestrian priority areas. The fine for not clearing the sidewalk around your property is $150, with each day being a new offence.”
In addition to being the law, keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice is the neighbourly and safe thing to do, Hilgerdenaar said.
“It is also a great opportunity to help out your neighbour if they need assistance complying with the bylaw,” he said. “Helping others in times of need really helps to build community.”