If you live in a home with a sidewalk out front, you may want to have your snow shovel at the ready this winter. According to CBC News, over 200 property owners were taken to court for failing to abide by Vancouver's snow removal bylaw. The residents were booked for failing to shovel their sidewalks on one of the city's snowiest and coldest days earlier this year. All of them were issued fines and a court date.
While Vancouver has yet to see snow this season, it's likely around the corner. When it does, you better start shovelling your walkway before 10 a.m. to avoid the same fate.
According to CBC News, 244 Vancouver residents were issued court summons after not clearing snow off their sidewalks.
The summons were issued after one of Vancouver’s snowiest days of the year. On February 15, 2019, Metro Vancouver saw three times the historical amounts of snow for the month, CBC News reports.
In fact, Vancouver saw more snow in February than they have in over a decade.
The next day, 244 property owners were charged for failing to shovel their sidewalks before 10 a.m. the day after a fresh snowfall.
On November 9, 2019, dozens of the charged residents showed up to one of the small claims courts in Vancouver. CBC reports that about two dozen people were in the waiting room all with the same summons paper.
The outlet reports that there have been several hearings on numerous Tuesdays that started back in October for the 244 residents.
All residents were given the choice of paying the fine, setting a trial date, or asking to see their case file and coming back another day.
During the November 19 court hearing, CBC states that most agreed to pay the fine and left within minutes of attending court.
Penalties for something like this will range from a minimum of $250 for an owner-occupied home to $400 for tenant-occupied properties. It can also go up to $800 for development lots.
Oftentimes, the city will even have photo evidence, making it difficult for residents to dispute the claim.
British Columbia, in general, is a stickler for rules like this. In February of this year, Richmond RCMP issued a $109 fine for a driver who failed to clear any snow off their vehicle.
But it isn’t just B.C. that has bylaw fines for sidewalk clearing. Just one month ago, the City of Calgary announced that you could be fined up to $750 for not shovelling your sidewalk.
Given the large amount of snow Calgary has gotten so far this season, you could find yourself shovelling every day.