Snow Clearing

Fernie receives an average of 30 ft (9 metres or 360 inches) of snow each year. When it snows, the City of Fernie gets to work clearing snow from 71.5 km of streets and commercial laneways, 12.8 km of sidewalks, and 11 km of pathways and trails throughout town.

In November 2021, Council adopted a new Snow and Ice Control Policy and Snow Removal Windrow Clearing Policy to provide a clear framework for how we deliver snow and ice control services. The goal of these policies is to ensure the City offers consistent, efficient, and sustainable services to the community.

Highlights of the Snow & Ice Control Policy

7 day a Week Service

  • More snow clearing on weekends, creating a balanced approach to snow management throughout the entire week.
  • New staffing shifts allow crews to work from 4am until midnight.
  • Downtown centre-plow windrows can now be cleared on weekends.

Curb-to-Curb Approach

  • We use a curb-to-curb approach to clear snow from streets, while following a prioritization framework. This approach clears driving lanes and on-street parking lanes on the first pass, and minimizes the number of windrows created.

Full Plow Triggered by 5cm of Snow

  • When 5 cm of snow is the forecast or accumulated (on the ground), all hands are on deck to clear snow. You can expect to see our graders, loaders, sanders, sidewalk machines, downtown blower, and dump trucks out on the streets working to clear roads, sidewalks and remove centre plows.
  • When light snow falls (less than 5 cm) you can expect to see belly plows plowing and sanding around town, and sidewalk machines clearing sidewalks.

Snow Clearing Priorities

Clearing snow from Fernie’s roads, sidewalks, and parking lots is managed on a priority basis to ensure a safe transportation network during the winter season. 

This framework focuses on safety, making sure key infrastructure such as water and sewer facilities, emergency services, schools and bus routes can be accessed as quickly as possible when it snows. 

Priority 1 (Red Zone): emergency services (IE. fire, ambulance, RCMP, search and rescue, hospital), main city operational services (public works), historic downtown business district, main corridors to provide access to the downtown and Highway 3.

Priority 2 (Blue Zone): essential city services, main business areas, schools and school zones, main bus routes, city owned and operated community and recreation facilities, and primary access / egress from residential neighbourhoods.

Priority 3 (Green Zone): secondary egress routes for emergency services and neighbourhoods, additional city operational services, light business and identified recreation areas.

Priority 4 (Yellow Zone): remaining local residential areas.

Priority 5 (Orange Zone): identified outdoor recreation areas and identified off-street parking in the historic downtown area. The intent of the priority five area is to identify areas that may receive snow and ice control services when resources become available.

View a map of our Road Clearing Priority Routes.

View a map of our Facilities Snow Clearing Priority Routes

The City is responsible for clearing snow from many roads throughout town but does not govern or provide snow maintenance to strata properties, private roads, or highways.

Have questions about the service? 

Read our Snow Clearing FAQ for answers to frequently asked questions.

Sidewalks

The City provides snow plowing and ice control for a specified sidewalk route only as identified on our sidewalk and pathway clearing map.

View a map of our Sidewalk and Pathway Clearing Priority Routes.

Business property owners and multi-family residential owners/managing occupants also play a role in keeping sidewalks free of snow, ice, and overhanging icicles along the frontage and side of these properties.

Sidewalks and footpaths adjacent to these premises must be clear of snow and ice before 9:00 am each day.

Highlights of the Windrow Clearing Program

  • The windrow clearing program operates 7 days a week. Previously, windrow services were not being provided on weekends or statutory holidays, which significantly delayed the service.
  • The language in our policy is now easier to follow and sets clearer expectations for those that receive this service. Approved residents can expect on a typical snowfall requiring a full plow response (deploying heavy equipment) that their driveway snow windrow will be cleared within 48 hours and is dependent on:
    1. Availability of equipment and staffing
    2. Size of snowfall
    3. Available service budget

More information about the Windrow Clearing Program is available here.

How you can help

Residents and business owners can help our snow clearing team to an effective job by:

  • Keeping vehicles off the roads. Use off-street parking spaces wherever possible.
  • Keeping sidewalks, boulevards, roads, and commercial alleyways clear of obstructions and parked vehicles. Snow is stored on boulevards to maintain road width. 
  • Following the instructions on parking signage posted at your location if you need to park on the street.
  • Parking according to the alternating parking schedule if there is no posted parking signage. This schedule allows plows to clear snow back to the boulevards on alternating days.
  • Understanding that it may take multiple days for snow clearing crews to complete their routes.
  • Not interrupting or approaching equipment operators. For your safety, please maintain distance from equipment and allow operator staff to do their work.
  • Ensuring catch basins in your local area are clear of snow and ice.
  • Placing garbage and recycling cans in driveways instead of on the road.

Any resident requiring snow and ice management services beyond the levels the City of Fernie provides can engage a snow clearing contractor to assist.

Report an Issue

The Request for Service tool is an online form for residents to report non-emergency maintenance issues such as potholes or broken streetlights.

Residents can submit Snow and Ice related service requests for any services the City of Fernie provides as outlined in the Snow and Ice Control Policy or Snow Plow Windrow Policy.

Please understand that during a snow event, it may take multiple days for snow clearing crews to complete their routes.

Report an issue using our Request for Service tool.

Service requests are reviewed daily and assigned accordingly. Residents can expect to receive an update to their service requests within 7 business days.

If you have feedback or requests for issues not covered by the Snow and Ice Control Policy, send an email to: snow@fernie.ca 

Contractor Snow Dumps

The City of Fernie offers a space adjacent to Fernie Railyard Dog Park, for business owners and snow clearing contractors to deposit excess snow from private properties during the winter season.

Each year business owners & snow clearing contractors must apply to use this space.

For application forms and more information about this service, send an email to: operations@fernie.ca