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Should Delta have a snow-clearing bylaw for homeowners?

Richmond, Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey have bylaws requiring snow removal in residential zones
Homeowners in North Delta busy shoveling after a night of heavy snowfall. Sandor Gyarmati/Delta Optimist

Should the City of Delta have a bylaw requiring homeowners to shovel snow from sidewalks fronting their homes.

In a recent letter to council, a resident requested such a bylaw, saying it would be a common sense measure to make the city safer and more accessible. The resident also noted that if some people find it difficult to clear their sidewalks, the city should explore incentives or assistance.

Delta’s current bylaw only requires snow removal from sidewalks in commercial and industrial zones. That work is typically done by snow removal services being contracted to remove snow at strip malls and industrial complexes.

A staff response to the letter noted that when it comes to a bylaw requiring residents to remove snow from sidewalks in residential zones, that could present challenges as in most cases residents would be required to do the work themselves.

“There are a variety of reasons why a resident may not be able to clear snow within a required time frame that includes work commitments, age, health, physical infirmities, priority commitments or absence from their homes. Ticketing for non-compliance would have to take these factors into consideration,” the staff memo stated.

Also according to staff, while a number of cities including Richmond, Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey have bylaws requiring snow removal in residential zones, it is unknown to what extent those bylaws are enforced.

The Delta resident who wrote the letter was informed his correspondence would be reviewed by council.

The City of Delta has a Snow Angels program which matches seniors who need their walkway and/or sidewalk cleared with volunteers in the community, but the service is subject to volunteer availability, while those who apply after a deadline are put on a waiting list.

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