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Snow Removal Policy

Although winter weather is often random and unpredictable, the City of Kenora snow removal efforts are not. The City is committed to providing a high level of winter roads maintenance throughout the winter season. Using a combination of City staff and contractors, plowing, sanding and salting is performed each winter with consideration to public safety, environmental and budget concerns.

The City is responding to high volumes of calls regarding snow removal and plowing concerns. We thank all the public for their patience during this very long and challenging winter for the Roads Department. Please review the following information which will assist our Roads Crews working on our municipal roadways and sidewalks.

The City is divided into three priority areas. Each route is made up of streets categorized as either priority streets or other streets, with priority streets cleared first. Priority roads are arterial roads that carry the highest volumes of traffic. These roads are used to access business areas and the hospital and are also used to get in and out of Kenora along with bus routes. Other roads, primarily residential or secondary routes are systematically plowed after the priority routes have been completed.

Getting the snow plowed quickly is important to keep traffic moving well in and after snow storms. Please remember that other busy roads follow in the snow removal process and the more public co-operation we have, it allows our operators to work more efficiently. Please do not park on our main busy streets during a heavy snowfall even if on-street parking is allowed at certain times of the day.

Our focus is to ensure that Kenora’s roads remain functional for emergency vehicles, buses, business and major institutions like schools and the hospital. Public safety is our number one priority.

With such a large network of roads clearing snow from City streets requires collaboration and support from staff and residents. Residents can help make the process safer for everyone. One way to help is please slow down and let snow plow operators lead the way when you see a grader, plow or City sand truck. Below are some additional tips that you can do to make our roads safe and clear of snow:

  • Park your vehicle off the street where possible.  If you must park on a street, be sure not to park in a spot that has a snow route, or snow removal of no parking signs. Please do not park when these signs are present or in the downtown area overnight at all in the winter. Parked vehicles will slow down snow removal efforts and may result in vehicles being removed at the owners expense.
  • Never pass a snow plow, stay behind! Snow plows are wider than the average vehicle with large blades that extend a metre or more ahead and into the neighbouring lane. Give snow plows and snow removal vehicles as much room as possible. Stay back at least 25 metres from snow plows, sanders and other equipment so the operator can see you.
  • Move aside. Snow plows often drive along the centre line of a roadway to remove snow. If you are approaching a snow plow from the opposite direction, shift right if conditions allow to ensure there is enough space for the plow to pass you safely.
  • Pedestrians should ensure they are visible. Pedestrians should move back from the road if they see or hear a snow plow approaching.

As per the City of Kenora permanent Overnight Parking Ban, parking is not permitted on downtown streets between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. for maintenance purposes. This ensures the City can completely clear streets of snow and that large emergency vehicles can get down the street. Any vehicle parked in violation can be ticketed and towed at the expense of the owner.

  Snow clearing hints for property owners and occupants:

  •  When clearing your driveway, consider the direction of travel of the snowplow. If you move snow toward the side of your property that the plow finishes crossing your driveway, less snow will be spread back across the driveway when the plow passes.
  • Keep children off snow banks to prevent them from slipping into the path of vehicles and equipment. Do not let children tunnel into snow banks. The snow can collapse or be pushed back by snow plows.
  •  If you have a fire hydrant on or near your property, please help keep the hydrant clear of snow and other obstructions. Time is essential when fighting a fire; every minute counts. Time wasted locating a fire hydrant could be used to safeguard lives and property.
  • The City devotes a great deal of resources to keep your streets and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Residents often deposit snow and ice from their property onto the street or sidewalk not realizing that this contravenes our municipal bylaw and contributes to unsafe driving and walking conditions and increases the cost of providing winter road maintenance. When you are clearing snow from your driveway, please keep this snow on your property. (See By-law 137-2013)

Levels of Service

The City of Kenora has developed carefully planned levels of winter road service to combat the diverse weather conditions we see every winter. A combination of City-owned equipment and contracted units provide effective snow plowing and removal services to Kenora roads through the priority and secondary route system we have designated (see Winter Maintenance Policy).

This system assigns priority to all major roads with the highest traffic in the city. To ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians, these major routes are serviced as soon as possible. Secondary routes (all residential streets in the city) are attended to regularly, but less often than priority routes (as per Winter Maintenance Policy).

The City’s responsibilities include 650 lane/kilometers of roadways, 150 km’s of sidewalks, 20 parking lots, 15 bus shelters. Please understand that our responsibilities are quite extensive with limited resources. Roads crews work hard daily to meet the demands of the weather challenges and fluctuations.

The public’s cooperation with the crew’s efforts and understanding of the challenges will help us work together through this demanding winter.