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City of Vancouver announces 'snow preparation' plan ahead of winter storm

"So we've got some pretty large accumulations in the forecast."
The Vancouver weather forecast includes large accumulations of snow.

The City of Vancouver says it hasn't made any changes to its snow preparation plan ahead of an expected winter storm. 

Starting on Saturday (Feb. 25) afternoon, Environment Canada expects some snow to start falling in the region, although the exact timing of the snowfall is uncertain. However, a significant accumulation is expected as a lingering cold weather system provides the ideal conditions for frosty weather. 

Vancouver Manager of Streets Amy Sidwell told V.I.A. that the city redeploys its crews from construction to focus on snow preparedness and removal.

"So we've got some pretty large accumulations in the forecast," she explains. "Right now, it's in the kind of high levels like 20 to 30 centimeters so our crews are actively out doing preparations, doing treatments around the city."

Ahead of the storm, the city has been putting salt or brine on all of the major roads, bridges, viaducts, bus routes, roads adjacent to hospitals, schools, care facilities, pedestrian pathways, and the 16 most-used bike routes.

"We're doing similar preparations to the last winter weather events...we had we redeploy our crews from their work in the construction and maintenance fields in engineering and then we have the come over to do the preparation with the prime and salt treatments," she said.

Vancouver weather forecast includes large accumulations of snow

Once the snow starts falling, the city will get plows out on the streets to remove any accumulation. 

"We really recommend [that] when we see these big accumulations, is to really only consider taking essential trips and so to really trying to stay off the road if possible," she said.

"If people do need to be on the road [they should ensure they have] the correct winter tires for their vehicle."

Drivers should also try to provide extra time and travel with caution if they are out on the roads. If they do see city vehicles plowing and salting the roads, they should try and get out of their way and give them lots of space.

Residential side streets are not included in the city's treatment plans unless they happen to correspond with a priority hill or provide access to hospitals and schools. If your car is parked on a major road it's a good idea to move it to a side street to make way for the plows.

Vancouver property owners and occupants are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the full width of sidewalks in front of and, if on a corner lot, alongside their property each day by 10 a.m. when there is snow on the sidewalks or freezing temperatures.

There is a city-endorsed Snow Angel program that matches volunteers with homes of people with mobility issues who aren't able to shovel their walks.

The city also warns of the overuse of salt which can cause harm to pets and other wildlife, including plants, and pollute water. They ask that the public uses it sparingly, only after the snow is removed, and to clear up any excess.

With files from Allie Turner.