'A simple ask': Regina City Council amends sidewalk snow removal bylaw to include all property owners

Next year, Regina residents will not be able to wait for warmer weather to clear the snow from their sidewalks.

Under a city bylaw amendment, all property owners, residential and commercial, must clear snow and ice from their sidewalks within 48 hours of the snowfall.

Regina city council voted in favour of changing the Clean Property Bylaw at Wednesday’s meeting.

Councillor Bob Hawkins says the bylaw is about kindness and making the city more accessible in the winter.

“It’s a bylaw that says we want to be kind to our seniors who want mobility outside in the winter,” Hawkins said.

“We want to be kind to folks who are physically challenged … we want to be kind to visitors in Regina who want to get out in the winter and see the city.”

The amendment also prohibits residents from moving snow and ice from their walkway onto other areas of the sidewalk and bans them from moving snow more than two and a half metres from the curb onto public highways or parking lanes.

Hawkins addressed concerns from residents who question how clear the walkways need to be, saying those details shouldn’t hold back the changes to the bylaw.

“Those details can be worked out, but at root this is just a simple ask of the citizens of this city to be kind to their fellow citizens,” Hawkins said.

For the first year of the change, city administration says it will focus on educating residents about the amendment, rather than “aggressive enforcement.”

Those who do not comply could face a $100 fine plus the cost of the city to clear the walkway.

The city is allocating funds to “local entities,” including the volunteer-led snow angels program, to help people with disabilities, seniors and others who cannot shovel their own sidewalk.

Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton have similar snow removal policies.

According to a city report, Saskatoon’s compliance rates vary from 89 per cent to 94 per cent in the last three years.

In Regina, the snow removal compliance rate for commercial properties is more than 98 per cent.

Depending on how many people do not comply with the bylaw amendments, city administration could look into hiring additional bylaw enforcement officers for 2023.

The new bylaw comes into effect Jan. 1, 2022.