Bruce Butcher manoeuvres a snow blower along Maple Avenue while clearing the sidewalks in his neighbourhood in February. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)

Chilliwack considers clearing sidewalks after snowstorms

City heard from residents upset that their policies do not prioritize sidewalk clearing

In the wake of a very snowy and icy winter, Chilliwack is looking at improving its sidewalk clearing protocol.

Council approved a recommendation Tuesday from the Transportation Advisory Committee to review the policy, prompted by the deluge of complaints from those who couldn’t get around after the unusually high snowfall.

“With the goal of maintaining winter mobility for pedestrians and cyclists during a snowfall event, the Transportation Advisory Committee recommends that Council instruct staff to review the Snow and Ice Control Service Policy, A-13 to identify possible service level improvements.”

City hall fielded feedback and complaints this past winter from residents who were upset that the existing policies do not prioritize sidewalk clearing in any tangible way.

Council moved to have staff look at the current prioritization of snow-clearing work that only views it through the lens of four road priority categories, from Arterial, Hillside or Collector routes, to the side roads known as “residential” which are the lowest priority.

It would be a major shift in priorities to consider maintaining winter mobility for pedestrians and cyclists during or shortly after a snowfall event. The city’s Snow and Ice Control policy A-13 will be reviewed to consider improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, before coming back before council.