Winter Maintenance and Snow Removal

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blue snowplow with black front blade clearing snow on the street

Winter Maintenance and Snow Removal

The Town of Georgina provides residents with a high level of snow-removal services. Whether it’s reducing ice on roads, removing snow from roads or clearing it from paths and sidewalks, the Town works to ensure residents and visitors can travel safely. The Town is responsible for 333 kilometres of roads, 140 kilometres of sidewalks and 25 municipal parking lots.  A combination of Town-owned trucks and a contracted service provider provide snowplowing services to Town roads through a priority and secondary route system

The Town's PDF icon Winter Control Guide (3.93 MB) for the 2020/2021 winter season is now online. The guide outlines all the relevant information for winter maintenance in the Town of Georgina.  You can find what route your road falls on by reviewing the PDF icon Overall Winter Maintenance Route Map (256.63 KB)

The Town's Winter Materials Trial has started on these PDF icon selected roads  (123.36 KB)within the Town.  Motorists may notice an increased level-of-service change on these roads. For more information on the Winter Material Trials, please see the Winter Materials Trial tab below.

Common Topics

Child safety - Ensure your children do not play where snow is piled at the side of the road or in the middle of courts where snowplow operators may not see them.

Fire safety The Town of Georgina has approximately 1,386 hydrants that need to be kept clear every time there is a snowfall. Residents are asked to assist by keeping fire hydrants on their properties clear of snow. Hydrants should have a clearing of one metre (three feet) all around and there should be a clear path to the street to ensure firefighters can readily access them. A hydrant can help save lives and property in your neighbourhood. If you see a hydrant that’s buried this winter, please do the neighbourly thing and dig it out. If you need assistance with hydrant snow removal, please call customer service at 905-476-4301. 

Damage to property -  Sidewalk plowing presents challenges throughout the winter as it is difficult to tell where the edge of the sidewalk is and when the ground is not frozen some sod damage may occur. Damage to Town sod, pavement and Town-owned trees will be repaired in the spring. The cost of both the sod and repairs is built into the Town's contract. Contact customer service at 905-476-4301 when you notice the damage and your address will be added to a list for repair when materials are available.

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Winter Materials Trial

Goal: To reduce material usage while maintaining or improving the Town's levels of service for winter maintenance

Summary: The Winter Materials Trial is to provide real, local data to support a more dynamic approach to winter maintenance and the associated treatment materials used throughout the road network in Georgina. There is real potential benefit in transitioning to 100 per cent salt in certain roadside environments, including improved road user safety, operational efficiencies resulting in financial benefit, and reduction in salt and sand use on roads resulting in significant environmental benefit.

The current application of 70 per cent sand and 30 per cent salt began as a pilot in 2018, and although has proven to be an improvement over the past 90 per cent sand 10 per cent salt mix, this mix still has many disadvantages including reduced friction, increased "slushing off", and leftover materials in the Town's infrastructure. The pilot to use 100 per cent salt has support from the LSRCA, provided the Town follows all salt management best practices, as there can be a reduction in overall salt usage, as the number of applications of materials are reduced when using 100 per cent salt. This, combined with the complete removal of sand application, can have a dramatic impact to the watershed, as less sand ends up in tributaries, ditches, culverts, catchbasins and curbs which all require annual maintenance as a result. Other municipalities within Simcoe County and York Region that fall within the Lake Simcoe Watershed have migrated to 100 per cent salt usage in the past five years with similar positive results to the municipality, the road user and the environment.

Who: Town staff and contractors

What: Salt application in designated trial area

Where: Designated Trial Area PDF icon Map (123.36 KB)

WhenThroughout the month of February and into March, as weather permits (10 winter events)

Why: A goal to reduce overall material usage to benefit operationally, financially and environmentally

How: Applying salt; documenting location, application rate, traffic volume, precipitation, road surface condition (pictures), ambient air temperature, road surface temperature, and qualitatively reviewing effectiveness at regular intervals during and after winter events. Comparing this data with similar non-trial locations and routes adjacent.

Additional resources:

PDF icon LSRCA Sand versus Salt (696.28 KB)

PDF icon LSRCA Smart about Salt (941.32 KB)

Service Levels

The Town of Georgina has developed carefully planned service levels for winter road maintenance.

Primary roads within the routes were determined by emergency vehicle routes and fire stations, traffic volumes, transit routes, steep hills, common gathering locations, connectivity of road network, and staff knowledge on difficult maintenance areas. Once these priority roads have been cleared, secondary road segments within each route will follow.

 Combined Individual Route Maps

Snow Storage/Windrows

Snowplows clear the Town's Highways of snow, and must store the snow as part of this process.  Snow storage is typically to the right, on the boulevards.  In some exceptions, wide corners and cul de sacs have snow storage within the roadway.

 

Declaration of Special Events

Winter Maintenance Event

As a result of a significant winter storm, the Town of Georgina may declare a Winter Maintenance Event which requires all parked vehicles to be removed from Town roads immediately and be kept off for the duration of the event. Failure to do so may result in a ticket and fine being issued as per By-law 2002-0046 (TR-1). A Winter Maintenance Event can be declared from Nov. 15 of each year to April 15 of the following year, when the Town’s regular winter parking restrictions are in effect. It allows the Town to perform snow removal, sanding and salting operations efficiently and quickly. It also provides for safer road access for emergency vehicles.

Significant Weather Event

As per the Ontario Municipal Act, a municipality may declare a significant weather event when a weather hazard, either forecast or occurring, has the potential to pose a significant danger to users of the roadways in which they have authority. This declaration suspends the standard timelines required for municipalities to meet their winter maintenance objectives. Learn more about significant weather events at york.ca.

Road Ownership

Regional Roads:

York Region plows the major roads in the Town of Georgina such as Dalton Road, High Street, Ravenshoe Road and Baseline Road. This interactive map (in red) highlights all the regional roads in Georgina and York Region that are plowed by the region. For more information, visit york.ca/roads.

Provincial Roads:

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario operates only one (1) highway within Georgina.  Highway 48 from Ravenshoe Road to Lakeridge Road is maintained by the MTO. If there is a concern with this road, please contact their operations center at: 416-327-8373

Sidewalks

Sidewalks are cleared by Town crews. The Town anticipates all sidewalks will be plowed at least once within 24 hours after a typical winter event. 

With sidewalks of various shapes and sizes, crews use a variety of tools for sidewalk maintenance including six sidewalk plows with sanders and snow blower attachments. Using different tools helps to reduce sod damage caused by sidewalk plows and allows for more extensive maintenance of different sizes and shapes of sidewalks 

The Town’s service level for winter control on sidewalks is to maintain them to a snow-packed condition, and sidewalk plows/blowers are not capable of clearing snow and ice from sidewalks to the extent that bare concrete is exposed in all conditions.  

Snow and ice often bonds to the concrete during extreme temperatures, and ice can also form on snow-packed sidewalks during thaw/freeze cycles. Other factors, such as a buildup of residual ice and snow under wheel tracks, can cause the edge of the plow or blower to ride above the surface of the sidewalk. All affected areas are treated with sand for traction.

Residents are asked to keep vehicles parked away from sidewalks so both road and sidewalk plows can better clean the roads.  Residents can contact the Town if a vehicle is preventing sidewalk maintenance in your area.

Safe winter walking

During winter months, snow and ice make walking very difficult. Here are some suggestions to help keep winter walking safe for everyone:

• Clear snow and ice away from catch basins and hydrants in front of your property.
• When clearing snow from parking lots do not push it into adjacent public land.
• During and immediately after a snowstorm, reduce your driving speed to account for slippery road conditions and snow clearing operations.
• During thaws, reduce your driving speed to avoid splashing pedestrians and prevent water from splashing onto the sidewalk where it will freeze into ice and become a hazard.
• Do not park any vehicles over the sidewalk. Even a partially blocked sidewalk prevents the plows from doing their job properly (By-law 2002-0046 (TR-1).
• Ensure that any structures are placed well back of the property line.

Keeping snow cleared on your property

The Town devotes a great deal of resources to keep streets and sidewalks clear of snow and ice after a snowfall. Residents often deposit snow and ice from their property onto the street or sidewalk not realizing that this contravenes municipal by-laws and the Ontario Highway Traffic Act – section 181. It also contributes to unsafe driving and walking conditions, and increases the cost of providing winter road maintenance. When you're clearing snow from your driveway, please keep the snow on your property.

Tip for clearing driveways: Piling snow to the right side of the driveway can help reduce the amount of snow pushed back into the driveway. Standing in the driveway and looking at the street determines the right side. Don’t forget to remove your parked car from the street during snow removal operations.

Garbage and Recycling

To make waste and recycling pick up easy and efficient, residents are reminded of the following:

  • Place items at the end of the driveway/curb so they are visible
  • Do not place bins or garbage on top of or behind snow banks
Parking

General:

As per the Town’s Traffic and Parking By-law, parking is not permitted on most Town streets from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., Nov. 15 to April 15. This ensures the Town can completely clear streets of snow.

During the day, unless the street is posted as “No Parking”, it is legal to park on the street for three (3) consecutive hours.

If a winter maintenance vehicle comes across a parked car that is consistently a nuisance to snow clearing activities, the Town can request that it be ticketed, towed and/or in extreme cases, contact York Regional Police to assist.

Residents can assist by reporting parked vehicles to the Town so a ticket can be issued. 

Mailbox damage

The Town of Georgina can replace mailboxes that are damaged by a Town snowplow on any Town road. However, if the mailbox has been damaged as a result of the weight of the snow against it, it may not be considered for replacement or reimbursement.

Residents are urged to purchase good-quality mailboxes and supporting posts that can withstand the winter elements. For specifications and additional information, check the Rural Mailbox Guidelines.

If your mailbox has been damaged by a Town snowplow, please report it to the Town as soon as possible for investigation and potential replacement.

Please note damaged mailboxes will be replaced with a standard mailbox only.

Reporting mailbox damage

Contact the Operations and Engineering Department at 905-476-4301. Roads staff will investigate your claim and contact you with the outcome.