Snow removal

Suburbs

You may notice some changes to the frequency of snow removal this winter as COVID-19 impacts service levels. Reduced staffing levels and new guidelines means delivery of this program may look different.

To ensure sidewalks in our city remain safe enough for community members to use, we ask that residents continue to clear snow on sidewalks around their property within 24 hours after a snowfall. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

We clear snow and ice from roads and sidewalks around city-owned facilities, walkways and parks. You are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks around your property.

On this page:

  1. Sidewalk shoveling
  2. Help with shoveling
  3. Report snow or ice on sidewalks
  4. Overnight parking exemptions
  5. Snow events
  6. Snowplow routes
  7. City sidewalks, trails and paths
  8. Assisted sidewalk and windrow snow clearing program

Sidewalk shoveling

Property owners must clear the sidewalks around their property to bare pavement within 24 hours of a snowfall. This includes clearing snow on the sidewalk that prevents safe pedestrian access to the road, often found at corner lots.

If a complaint is received and a bylaw officer determines your sidewalk is not clear, you will have another 24 hours to clear it to our bare pavement standard. After this point, the City may have a contractor clear your sidewalk and add the cost of the clearing to your property tax bill.

What is a windrow?

A windrow is the snow left on the side of the road by a plow. At corner lots, snow from the roadway may be moved onto the sidewalk after a plow, which prevents safe pedestrian access to the road. Residents are asked to ensure these sidewalks are also clear of snow. Let's work together to ensure everyone has safe access to walkways.

Pick up free sand for icy sidewalks

Homeowners can pick up free sand for icy sidewalks and walkways at sandboxes located throughout the city. Please ensure you bring your own shovel and container to collect the sand. Find free sand near you.

What if my street is on a city border?

We share 20 roads with the City of Waterloo. Our joint services program with Waterloo ensures that winter maintenance for these streets is effective and efficient.

Help with shoveling

These agencies that offer snow removal to seniors or anyone who cannot clear their sidewalks:

Contact your local high school to see if there are students who need volunteer hours and can help you through the winter.

Report snow or ice on sidewalks

You can report a sidewalk that has not been shoveled by calling 519-741-2345. When we get a complaint, we send staff out to inspect the sidewalk.

Overnight parking exemptions

Without an exemption, you cannot park overnight on city streets between December 1 and March 31, even when there is no snow. We consider overnight to be the time between 2:30 and 6 a.m.

Visit our overnight parking exemptions page to request an exemption.

Snow Events

When there is significant snowfall in the weather forecast, we will declare a Snow Event. When we declare a Snow Event, you cannot park on city streets and our tag-and-tow bylaw [LS7] takes effect.

We usually declare a snow event by 5 p.m. to come into effect at midnight, giving you time to move your car if it’s parked on a city street.

If we declare a Snow Event, we will:

 

  • post on our Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • send an email to our snow event subscribers (please subscribe below using the yellow button)
  • alert local media

Tag-and-tow bylaw

During a snow event, you cannot park on city streets. If a plow operator tells us they cannot clear a street because of parked cars, we will ticket and possibly tow cars so plows can continue their work.

The ticket for parking on a city street during a snow event is $80. We do not tag and tow cars based on calls from the public, only from plow operators who are unable to do their work.

If your car has been towed, call 519-741-2345 for its location.

Snowplow routes

It takes between 16 and 24 hours to plow all routes after the snow has stopped falling. We assign each snow plow a specific area of the city and priority for plowing.

Other factors, such as temperatures, future forecasts and precipitation, determine how and when plowing, salting or sanding should take place.

View our snowplow priorities map

Priority 1

Mains roads and major arteries. All priority 1 and 2 routes and all GRT bus routes are maintained until complete.

Priority 2

Hills, curves and GRT routes. Work on priority 2 streets begins only after priority 1 streets have been completed. If snow resumes while in priority 1 or 2, then clearing priority 1 roads is restarted.

Priority 3

Balance of backstreets, completing a full plow of the city. Work on priority 3 routes starts only after priorities 1 and 2 have been completed. If snow resumes while in priority 1 or 2, then clearing priority 1 roads is restarted.

City sidewalks, trails and paths

City sidewalks

We remove snow and ice from specific sidewalks and walkways around the city, including:

  • Sidewalks that surround city-owned property, such as community centres
  • Sidewalks within the downtown core, in connection with the Downtown Kitchener BIA
  • ‘Back lot’ sidewalks: sidewalks that run along the back fence of properties that owners do not have to maintain under the bylaw
  • Walkways between neighbourhoods
  • Crossing guard locations
  • Some crosswalks

We do not remove snow or ice from sidewalks not listed above.

Trails and paths

Kitchener is home to a network of multi-use paths and trails.

We do not remove snow from trails or parking lots that do not have a concrete or asphalt surface. This is to avoid damage. Applying salt can harm these areas.

Multi-use trails

Multi-use trails are our network of trails, some of which run along city streets. Many run through our parks and open spaces. These hard-surface trails offer year-round use for pedestrians and cyclists. We maintain many trails during the winter, but not all. 

Multi-use paths

Multi-use paths connect pedestrians to the regional road network, providing an asphalt surface for pedestrians, cyclists and more. We maintain these pathways during the winter in partnership with the Region of Waterloo. The region is responsible for repairs, brush cutting and grass cutting.

Assisted sidewalk and windrow snow clearing program

The program is full but we still encourage residents to apply so they can get on the waiting list for winter 2021/2022.

The City of Kitchener offers assisted sidewalk and windrow snow clearing services to eligible seniors and people living with a disability.

How to apply:

To request the application from please email to snowclearingassistance@kitchener.ca or call us at 519-741-2600 ext. 4566.

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