Parking ban in effect as snow plows begin multi-day process of clearing residential streets

A 24-hour winter parking ban is now in effect in Ottawa as snow removal crews begin the process of digging residential streets out from under a record amount of snow.

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson told Newstalk 580 CFRA that it will take a lot of time to clean up.

"It's going to be many, many days because they've got to get into the residential streets and then they have to come back and start removing the snowbanks from major commercial streets, and that takes a lot of time," he told Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron. "When you have 13,000 kilometers of roads, it takes a long period of time, even though we have every piece of equipment out."

Watson said he expects the cleanup to cost as much as $5 million. 

"The last briefing I had showed that we're in pretty good shape because January was pretty mild, except for this major blast of it, so I think we're in good financial shape," he said. "We did put in extra dollars, recognizing that these storms and these snow incidents are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, as a result of a number of different factors."

Environment Canada issued a blizzard warning and later a winter storm warning for Ottawa. By 5 p.m., the Ottawa Airport had seen a record 47 cm of snow

Roads manager Bryden Denyes told the CTV News at 6 that crews were set to begin working on residential streets at around 7 p.m.

He said this was a challenging snowstorm.

"It's one of the worst three-hour periods of snow I've seen in doing this job," he said. "Our conditions were extremely treacherous and dangerous. We plowed areas and within half an hour, you couldn't even tell we had been there."

Quentin Levesque, acting director of roads and parking services for the city of Ottawa told reporters Monday afternoon that the speed at which the snow came down Monday morning created significant issues.

"Between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., we were seeing accumulations in the range of 5 centimetres up to 12 centimetres in some areas of the city per hour," he said. "This proves very difficult for staff to keep up, as far as clearing the snow from our sidewalks, roadways and our winter cycling network."

Environment Canada said 12 cm of snow fell between 8 and 9 a.m. Another 9 cm fell between 9 and 10 a.m.

City staff declared a "Significant Weather Event" Sunday, warning the city "will not be meeting our winter maintenance objectives" during the storm, and "snow-clearing operations will take longer than usual."

Watson asked for patience as city crews work to clear the snow.

"Every street can't be plowed first," Watson told CTV Morning Live on Monday. "People will tweet me all day saying my street isn't plowed. Unfortunately, we have to prioritize."

Work on residential streets is slated to begin later in the evening and overnight once the snow tapers off, Levesque said.

"Into this evening, we will be transitioning into our residential neighbourhoods to begin cleanup of those residential streets," he said. "We're likely looking at overnight into tomorrow in order to complete that work."

Levesque cautioned that the amount of snow will prove challenging for crews on residential streets.

"With a storm of this magnitude and the amount of accumulation, it is difficult and challenging for our equipment to push through that amount of snow," he said. "It does take quite a bit more time to clear all of our residential streets with that amount of snow on them.”

Residents are asked not to shovel the snow from their driveways into the street, but to the sides. Any garbage or recycling that is being put out should be moved back away from the curb. Residents who are able can also clear catch basins and fire hydrants. Residents are also reminded to clear away snow from hot water and furnace vents and from the top of vehicles.

"With the amount of snow, we ask residents to use caution," said Tierney. "Obviously, you don't want to overexert yourself when you're out there."

Levesque said there were no reports of the snow affecting emergency services, but crews would be ready to provide any assistance, if needed. The COVID-19 pandemic has also not impact snow clearing staffing levels at this time.

Alain Gonthier, director of Roads and Parking Services with the city of Ottawa, said all staff and contractors are fully compliant with the city's mandatory vaccination policy.

OC TRANSPO

OC Transpo warns transit users may see delays on routes on Monday.

"Please allow extra time for your travels and take care when boarding, exiting, and at station platforms," said OC Transpo.

For the Confederation Line, OC Transpo says additional resources, including specialized equipment and extra staff, are brought in to ensure service continues to operate.

❄️ During the winter, additional resources are brought in to prepare for bad weather, including specialized equipment and extra staff, to ensure service continues to operate for customers. Learn more about how we prepare the O-Train: https://t.co/xClIBbIZBG

— OC Transpo (@OC_Transpo) January 16, 2022

PARKING BAN IN THE CITY OF OTTAWA

The city of Ottawa has issued a 24-hour parking ban, from 7 p.m. Monday to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Only vehicles with on-street parking permits can park on city streets during a parking ban.

"This is very uncommon that we call such a lengthy parking ban. The reason for that is just because of the intensity of the event and our ability to manage our resources between how much we can do in residential areas and the priority network," said Gonthier.

"We're not going to be in a position to start residential areas until we have a better handle in terms of the condition of our priority networks."

During winter weather parking bans, residents can access select  OC Transpo park and rides as well as certain recreation centres for parking. Visit ottawa.ca/winter for more information.

Winter Parking Restriction in effect tomorrow at 19:00. With the amount of snow they are calling for, try to keep your vehicle off the street to avoid getting stuck like in 2017. https://t.co/Lve5AXGY8i

— Ottawa By-law (@OttawaBylaw) January 16, 2022

GARBAGE AND RECYCLING COLLECTION

There will be no curbside or multi-residential green bin, recycling or garbage collection on Monday due to the storm.

The city says Monday's pick-up will take place on Tuesday, and all collection will be delayed by one day all week.

There will be no curbside or multi-residential green bin, recycling or garbage collection on Monday, January 17 due to the Significant Weather Event. Monday pick-up will take place on Tuesday, January 18 and all collection will be delayed by 1 day for the remainder of the week.

— City of Ottawa (@ottawacity) January 16, 2022

OTTAWA PUBLIC LIBRARY BRANCHES 

Ottawa Public Library branches will be closed on Monday.

All bookmobile and homebound deliveries are also cancelled.

COMMUNITY VACCINATION CLINICS

All Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 community vaccination clinics will be closed on Monday due to the snow.

In a statement, Ottawa Public Health says due to the anticipated "significant snowfall event" and to ensure the safety of residents, all COVID-19 community vaccine clinics will be temporarily closed.

"Those with appointments are being contacted directly," said OPH on Twitter.

IMPORTANT: Due to Monday’s anticipated significant snowfall event and to ensure the safety of Ottawa residents, all COVID-19 community vaccine clinics will be temporarily closed. Those with appointments are being contacted directly. Clinics are expected to resume on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/5nYw5XNoJo

— Ottawa Public Health (@OttawaHealth) January 16, 2022

COVID-19 TESTING SITES

The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce said COVID-19 assessment centres would be closed early on Monday.

  • The Ray Friel COVID-19 Testing Centre closed early at 11:30 am.
  • The Moodie COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre will close early at 1 p.m.
  • The COVID-19 Assessment Centre for Adults at Brewer Park Arena will close early at 3 p.m.
  • The CHEO Assessment Centre and Kids Come First Care Clinic at Brewer Park Arena will close early at 3 p.m.
  • The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at McNabb and the North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre have temporarily closed today.