Does the City have a prioritized snow removal program?

Yes, the City of Penticton has a prioritized snow removal program. These areas are cleared according to the following priorities:

First Priority:

  • Main Routes (Arterials)
  • Steep Hills
  • School Zones
  • Bus Routes
  • District Collectors
  • Main Industrial Routes
  • Local Collectors
  • City building and park sidewalks
  • Public walking trails

Second Priority:

  • Residential Streets
  • Industrial Side Streets

It takes us approximately 48 hours to reach the residential streets and cul-de-sacs from the time it stops snowing. If snow falls again within that time, crews must return to streets with higher priority. Understandably this lengthens the response time for residential streets and cul-de-sacs and is the prime cause of inquiries on snow control.

What equipment is used for snow removal?

The City is equipped with the following snow removal equipment:

  • 5 Large trucks equipped with plows & sanders
  • 2 One-ton dump trucks with plows & sanders
  • 1 Loader
  • 1 Grader
  • Miscellaneous sidewalk equipment
  • Liquid anti-icing equipment

Why don't you clear sidewalks of snow?

When you consider the combined length of sidewalks in the City, it is costly and time consuming to use additional people and equipment to perform this service for all areas.

The City does clear sidewalks around parks, bridges and City owned properties. Bylaw No. 2009-20 states every owner or occupier of any building or premises including vacant lots shall clear the sidewalk of snow and ice before 11:00am.

For those that are eligible the City does facilitate a volunteer program Snow Angel Program. The program links people in need with community volunteers.

Why can't the City remove snow they put in my driveway?

When you consider the large number of driveways in the City, it becomes very costly and time consuming to use additional people and equipment to provide this service.

Remember when shoveling your driveway to always pile the snow on the left side of the driveway (facing the property), this will give you a better line of vision of the approaching traffic and when our plows go by, we will not drag your shoveled piles back into your driveway entrance.

Why not plow snow to the center of the road, away from sidewalks and driveways?

Plowing snow to the centre of the road is called windrowing. The City does not use this method because:

  • Windrowing down the centre of the street blocks left-hand turns at many points, frustrating motorists.
  • As the size of the windrow increases, it encroaches into the traveled lanes. If the snow persists, it would eliminate parking at the side of the roads.
  • Eventually, windrows would have to be removed, increasing snow control costs and decreasing the program's snow plowing productivity. In addition, it is difficult to dispose of snow because of the problems created when it melts in the spring.

May I place the snow from my driveway in the travelled portion of the road?

No, the placing of snow on the traveled portion of the road is not permitted under the City's Traffic Control Bylaw. This regulation helps to ensure that potentially dangerous situations for motorists are avoided.

Who can I call if I have concerns regarding snow removal?

I would like to make a suggestion on snow control. Where can I send it?

How can the public be of assistance to the snow removal crews?

  • Do not place snow from private property onto the road or sidewalk.
  • During or following snow storms, park you car off the street if possible.

Does the City tow vehicles?

Yes, the City does tow vehicles from time to time. This is done to ensure routes are clear for emergency and vehicular traffic. Residents that leave or abandon their vehicles during snow storms and obstruct traffic flow can expect their vehicles to be towed without warning. To find out if your vehicle has been removed by the City, call the RCMP at 250-492-4300.

What does the City use to create traction on the roads?

The City uses salt, salt/sand mix, and straight sand to ensure the roads are safe for winter driving.

Salt is used throughout the core of the City as it is fast acting and extremely effective in our weather conditions. When the snow melts the salt is gone, requires very little cleanup, and does not fill our storm drainage systems with silt and debris.

Salt/sand mix is used in the higher elevations and agricultural areas. The higher areas generally have more snow and cooler temperatures, sand/salt mixtures are more effective in these conditions.

How does the City regulate the amount of salt and salt/sand mix placed on the road?

The trucks applying salt & salt/sand mix are equipped with onboard computers allowing the operator to select an exact amount of salt required to overcome the current/forecasted weather conditions. The computer controls an auger and spinner that automatically speeds up or slows down to compensate for the ground speed of the truck to ensure the selected amount of material is placed on the road.

The rates that salt & salt/sand mix are applied, are based on temperature, forecast and snowfall, as well as experience and guidelines from various snow removal manuals.

Why does the City spray liquid on the roads in the winter?

The City sprays sodium chloride on high priority streets in advance of and during a snow storm, to improve road traffic safety. The liquid is applied depending on temperature and anticipated volumes of snow. The liquid helps prevent snow and ice from bonding to the road surface.

The anti-icing program is a proactive approach used in an attempt to improve road safety at the start of a winter storm as opposed to conventional reactive snow removal practices.

Another benefit of the program is to reduce black ice conditions. Sodium Chloride is an effective tool when temperatures are above -10 Celsius. The product can be applied during regular working hours saving overtime costs.