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Guelph, Snow And Snow Removal Ordinances

January 5th 2020

Moving to a new place is always exciting. There is so much to discover. Guelph offers people the chance to live in a busy and thriving city that still has a small-town feel. With new housing springing up along the Speed and Eramosa Rivers, it is becoming easier to enjoy a condo lifestyle. However, single homes and duplexes, as well as townhouses, are also available. In other words, if you choose to move to Guelph, you do still have a choice in lifestyle and residence. Moreover, while housing prices have gone up in the past decade, it is still considerably less expensive than in nearby Toronto and New market.

Guelph City

Forgotten Ordinances

People always check to see when commuter trains and buses run. They know where the nearest grocery store is. They have discovered how far it is to the mall and where the closest schools, buses, and libraries are. They usually find out in advance these matters. However, what about local ordinances?

Every City has its own bylaws. They can differ even slightly from one community to the next. Those planning on moving to Guelph are generally quick to check out parking bylaws. They learn whether they can leave their vehicles on the street and when. In Guelph, certain streets allow overnight parking; others do not. These can change. It is always best to check the City’s website for specifics.

One time when street parking can be restricted is for a snow event. People tend to forget to query about this and other ordinances relating to snow. They do not ask such questions as:

Who is responsible for clearing the sidewalks?

Are there any specific regulations regarding snow clearance of sidewalks and driveways?

If I am responsible, how close to the surface, must I remove the snow, and within what time frame must I accomplish it?

What are the fines if I fail to clear my sidewalk from the snow?

Fortunately, for those living in Guelph, sidewalks are not the homeowner’s or tenant’s sole responsibility. Unlike in neighboring Cambridge and Waterloo, Guelph Public Works clears away all sidewalks.  This means no time limit is set, and no fines are involved for homeowners and residents who do not clear their sidewalks.

Yet, this does not mean your personal sidewalk is a priority to the City of Guelph. They perform the process in an orderly fashion, prioritizing according to a perceived demand. Primary or arterial roads are plowed first after an inch of snow has fallen.  Secondary roads then follow. The last to be addressed are residential streets. They, however, must have received at least 4 inches before a snow plow shows up.

According to the City’s website. “Sidewalks are prioritized based on pedestrian traffic volume and proximity to high use facilities, such as schools, hospitals, and public buildings.” In other words, the sidewalks downtown and in front of schools have priority over neighborhood walkways. Moreover, it again depends upon the amount of snow accumulation. It is 2 inches for priority sidewalks and 4 inches for residential ones.

If you do not think your street or sidewalk was cleared quickly enough after a snowfall, you do have the right to contact the City. However, they request you do so only after a certain time has elapsed. This is 24 hours for roads and 48 hours for sidewalks.

Helping Out

The City also courteously asks residents to help out by shoveling their own sidewalks whenever possible. Considering the City continues to perform these services while other communities nearby do not, it is really not too much to ask. In fact, if you cannot wait for the City to clear your sidewalks but do not have the time to do so yourself, why not contact a service.

Using a third-party provider such as Edenapp, you can find someone to handle snow removal for your entire property. It makes getting up on a snowy day so much more relaxing if you do not have to shovel snow or get up earlier to start up your lawn tractor snow plow or similar device. On a day when it is essential to get to work or drive the kids to school, such services are godsends. They even are great on those days when you either plan to sleep in before handling chores or take the family dog to one of Guelph’s many scenic walking trails. These apps are available readily from Apple, Android, and even edenapp.com.