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Sidewalk snow removal FAQ

  1. Who is responsible for clearing snow and ice from Calgary sidewalks?
  2. What is The City's priority system for sidewalk snow and ice control?
  3. What is a continuous barrier?
  4. Can property owners be fined for failing to remove snow and ice from a sidewalk?
  5. Who can I contact with questions or concerns, including reporting of bylaw infractions or a warning notice issued in error?

1. Who is responsible for clearing snow and ice from Calgary sidewalks?

Under Street Bylaw 20M88, the owner or occupant of any private property adjacent to a sidewalk is deemed responsible for the removal of ice and snow from that portion of the sidewalk within 24 hours after the ice or snow has been deposited. Where a property owner cannot be identified or where a City-approved continuous barrier restricts access to the sidewalk, the property owner is exempted from the obligation to clear the sidewalk.

In order to conduct its operations in a timely and cost effective manner, The City keeps an inventory of the sidewalks it clears, and prioritizes its snow and ice control activities based on a set of criteria. The City of Calgary is also subject to Alberta's Municipal Government Act (R.S.A. 2000 c.M-26), which requires municipalities to keep roads and sidewalks in a reasonable state of repair.

Consider becoming a "Snow Angel" by helping neighbours in need, especially seniors, with snow removal this winter. Take a few extra minutes when shovelling your own sidewalk to shovel a neighbour's sidewalks and to keep them clear, ice-free and safe.

2. What is The City's priority system for sidewalk snow and ice control?

Sidewalk snow and ice control is prioritized into four categories:

Priority One includes snow clearing and/or sanding of Olympic Plaza, Stephen Avenue Mall, Barclay Mall (under private account), overpasses, steps and bus pads.

Priority Two includes snow clearing and/or sanding of sidewalks and wheelchair ramps adjacent to majors, collectors and bus routes, where sidewalks do not abut private property. Bus pads are also included.

Priority Three includes snow clearing and/or sanding of all bus stops.

Priority Four includes snow clearing and/or sanding of walkways and lane approach aprons on a complaint basis. 

Ongoing assessment of The City's sidewalk snow and ice control program may result in some sidewalks being given a lower or higher priority for the purposes of snow and ice removal. As long as a sidewalk remains on the maintenance list, home owners or occupants are not required to clear it. Notice of reprioritization will be given to community associations for inclusion in community newsletters. When sidewalks are removed from the list, notice is delivered directly to affected properties.

3. What is a continuous barrier?

For the purposes of snow and ice removal, a continuous barrier is a City-approved sound attenuation wall or retaining wall or developer-built community screening fence that lies between a sidewalk and private property.

Where a City-approved continuous barrier restricts access to a sidewalk, that sidewalk has been changed from Priority Two to Priority Four. These sidewalks will be cleared after other higher priority activities are completed.

In the case of private property where all or part of an adjacent fence, hedge or other barrier was not built or approved by The City, the adjacent sidewalk has been removed from The City's snow clearing list and the property owner/occupant is now responsible for clearing snow and ice from that sidewalk pursuant to Street Bylaw 20M88.

4. Can property owners be fined for failing to remove snow and ice from a sidewalk?

If a property owner or occupant does not remove snow and ice from a sidewalk adjacent to their property within 24 hours of a snowfall, The City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services may issue a warning notice directing the property owner or occupant to clear the sidewalk within a certain period of time. If the sidewalk is not cleared within that time, The City may have the snow and ice removed from the sidewalk at the property owner's expense. Actual costs vary depending on the length of the sidewalk and the amount of ice and snow to be removed. Animal & Bylaw Services typically acts on snow and ice removal concerns on a complaint basis.

5. Who can I contact with questions or concerns, including reporting of bylaw infractions or a warning notice issued in error?

Report your snow concerns online.