The Town of Okotoks will take reasonable steps to manage snow and ice hazards on public roadways, parking lots, sidewalks, and primary pathways in a systematic and timely manner to prevent or reduce accidents and injuries, ensure safe access for the public and emergency vehicles, promote active transportation, and minimize economic loss to the community. The snow removal program in the Town of Okotoks has been developed over several years and has been revised constantly to fit the ever changing demographics of the Town.
During a typical snow event and for several days following the event, all routes in Town are monitored closely by Transportation crews normally working 24 hour shifts. Snow clearing will result in windrows on both sides of the road or to the centre of the road. Clearing of windrows in front of driveways or adjacent sidewalks left by equipment shall be the responsibility of the property owner or affected individual, company or corporation.
In accordance with the Snow and Ice Control Policy the Town receives snow and ice control activities as per the following order:
Priority 1: Arterial Roads and Downtown
Sanding operations shall commence within four (4) hours when snowfall accumulation under approximately 4 cm has occurred.
Snow clearing will commence within four (4) hours when approximately 4 cm or more has accumulated.
Once snow clearing / plowing of Priority 1 routes commences, all routes within this category within twenty-four (24) hours after the snow event has ceased shall be cleared of snow and ice generally from the edge of road to edge of road (curb to curb) or around parked vehicles and other objects to ensure that the largest extent of the road has been reasonably cleared.
Additional snow clearing (widening) along these routes may occur once all other priority and secondary routes have received initial snow clearing response.
Snow removal may be initiated when compacted snow on the road is sufficient to impede the flow of traffic, causes drainage concerns, or when windrows along the side of the road become excessive as determined by the Chief Administrative Officer. The Town will assume no liability whatsoever for damage to obstructions or landscaping of any kind placed or developed within a road right-of-way without a permit.
Priority 2: Collector Roads
- Sanding operations shall commence within twenty-four (24) hours when snowfall accumulation under approximately 4 cm has occurred.
- Snow clearing will commence within twenty-four (24) hours when approximately 4 cm or more has accumulated.
- Once snow clearing / plowing of Priority 2 routes commences, all routes within this category within forty-eight (48) hours after the snow event has ceased shall be cleared of snow and ice generally from the edge of road to edge of road (curb to curb) or around parked vehicles and other objects to ensure that the largest extent of the road is reasonably cleared.
- Additional snow clearing (widening) along route will occur once all other priority and secondary routes have received initial snow clearing response.
- Snow removal may be initiated when compacted snow on the road is sufficient to impede the flow of traffic, causes drainage concerns, or when windrows along the side of the road become excessive as determined by the Chief Administrative Officer. The Town will assume no liability whatsoever for damage to obstructions or landscaping of any kind placed or developed within a road right-of-way without a permit.
Priority 3: Residential Roads and Alleys
Snow and ice control operations are activated when the road is rendered impassable, extenuating circumstances exist, or as required. When this happens snow operations for Priority 3 areas use the following zone map to move through neighbourhoods:
- Routes in this category are sanded and bladed flat to minimize rutting when identified but snowpack of varying depths may be left in accordance with what is required to minimize driving difficulty and when extenuating circumstances exist.
- Snow removal and / or snow storage operations may be implemented when the road is rendered impassable, poses significant safety concerns, drainage is impacted, other extenuating circumstances as determined, or when compacted snow exceeds 25cm. The Town will assume no liability whatsoever for damage to obstructions or landscaping of any kind placed or developed within a road right-of-way without a permit.
- The transportation team is in constant communications with Emergency Responders to ensure access is available throughout the community.
The Town of Okotoks pathway system consists of primary and secondary pathways. Primary pathways (red) are main pedestrian corridors that collect from a series of secondary pathways (black) to facilitate pedestrian movement from residential to commercial areas. Okotoks Town Council has determined that primary pathways will receive snow clearing as part of an overall pathway strategy to improve pedestrian movement year round.
Snow clearing on sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. Where sidewalks border parks, the Town provides the snow removal. Where sidewalks border businesses and residences, the private property owner is responsible. Sidewalks not cleaned may be subject to a fine.
The excerpt from Traffic Bylaw 10-10, Schedule A is as follows: “All persons within the Town of Okotoks shall remove and clean away, as soon as possible, and in any case within 24 hours, all snow, ice, dirt or debris and other obstructions from the sidewalk adjoining the premises owned or occupied by them.” Pushing snow onto public roads is also not permissible under the Traffic Bylaw.
For information contact Municipal Enforcement or call Transportation at the number below.
Snow Stockpiled Against Homes
Avoid any seepage issues with your home. It is good practice for homeowners during the winter and spring months to check all sides of their homes and remove any stockpiled snow against foundations - especially snow stockpiled near basement window wells. North and east sides of homes will be the worst (little winter sun exposure).
To assist with icy sidewalks during the winter months, the Town of Okotoks is offering free sand to its residents. Residents can pick up sand at the Eco Centre. Sand is also available at both fire halls located at 132 Milligan Drive, and 98 Woodhaven Drive.
The sand will be available for as long as it's required during the winter months; residents are asked to bring their own bucket.
In extreme snow events, additional resources may be engaged to assist with snow clearing efforts. Graders are normally deployed to assist to widen out roads further. Occasionally and only in extraordinary circumstances, snow is removed from identified streets. This is normally only done when roads become impassable, rutting becomes extreme, or drainage is significantly affected. The transportation team is in constant communications with Emergency Responders to ensure access is available throughout the community.
There has been a general consensus of most citizens that given the nature of a normal winter and the number of “Chinooks” we experience, hauling snow away unless absolutely necessary is an inefficient use of tax dollars and resources. When hauling snow is deemed necessary, it is hauled to the Town's temporary snow storage facility.
The current location of the Town’s temporary snow storage facility is located with the Town of Okotoks business park. Snow that is removed by the Town is hauled to and stockpiled in this area. The location is strategically located to provide easy access to main routes, which ultimately leads to reduced hauling times when snow is being hauled to the site from all locations within town.
The snow storage facility is continuously monitored for safety reasons. The facility is not accessible to the public or private contractors due to on-going repair work we are engaged with as well as storage limitations.
While they appear fun in a child’s mind, snow piles on the edge of roadways are unsafe. Please keep children from playing on or in snow piles that have accumulated around town. Snow piles are unstable and there is a danger of them collapsing. There are also concerns of children sliding down onto the road and into traffic.
Winter fun is available! Visit our outdoor skating rinks and tobogganing hills page to learn about these facilities located on public lands throughout town. These amenities are free for public use and a great way to keep your family safe while staying active during winter. The tobogganing hills are inspected for hazards but are not groomed. Helmet use while sledding and skating is strongly recommended.
When snow is plowed to the sides and away from the driving and parking lanes along an identified route, the process inevitably creates piles of snow which can be problematic for driveways adjacent to a snow cleared route. The trails of snow left behind by a snowplow are called windrows.
Clearing windrows in front of your property is your responsibility. On Priority 3 routes you may see Town equipment “flat-blading”, which provides for a smoother driving surface which may also result in creation of windrows along the sides of the road.
The Town makes every effort to minimize windrows; however, if a windrow limits access to a sidewalk, private driveway or on-street parking, citizens may choose to clear them at their convenience.