Snow clearing bylaw to be crystal clear next winter

City of Richmond bylaw officers will have an added duty come next winter, as they set off to enforce snow and ice clearing on sidewalks, in front of single-family homes.

The matter drew much attention among many residents and media this winter, after Richmond saw a significant amount of snow that lingered on the ground, forming ice, for weeks on end.

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On Tuesday, acting manager of Community Bylaws Ron Graham tabled a revised version of the city’s traffic bylaw to include single-family home snow removal, as the bylaw had previously only included commercial, industrial and residential strata complexes.

Single-family home owners will now face a $70 fine from bylaw officers, if their sidewalks are not cleared of snow and ice by 10 a.m. each day there is snow on the ground.

Additionally, the city is changing its bylaw to ensure that snow removal fines will be part of the municipal ticketing system. To date, the city would have had to go to court against commercial and residential strata properties charged with not clearing their sidewalks.

Graham noted the new ticketing powers will make enforcement easier.

He said the city witnessed an “extraordinary” increase in snow clearing complaints from the public this winter.

Prior to 2016, the city processed about a dozen complaints per year. However, this season alone, the city processed 348 such complaints. 

Graham estimated that 25 per cent of complaints were associated with single-family homes. Bylaw officers attended 242 local businesses and strata complexes in an effort to “promote compliance,” but no tickets were issued. 

In September, 2015 the city aggressively went after water wasters who flouted regional water restrictions by watering their lawns. The city issued 407 violation tickets at $500 each, which did not require court proceedings.

-Graeme Wood/Richmond News

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