Winter Maintenance and Snow Removal

You are here

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, 25 parking lots, 31 crosswalks and five York Region Transit bus shelters.

Winter parking restrictions

As per the Traffic and Parking By-law, parking is not permitted on most streets from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., Nov. 15 through April 15. This assists the Town so it can completely clear streets of snow and so large emergency vehicles can access all streets. Outside this time period, on-street parking will not be permitted should a "Winter Maintenance Event" be declared (communicated via the Town’s website, through social media the news media). 

Avoid daytime on-street parking  

Parked cars make plowing difficult and sometimes impossible. With your help, winter maintenance crews can plow faster and more efficiently.

Service levels

The Town of Georgina has developed carefully planned service levels for winter road maintenance. A combination of Town-owned trucks and contract units provide snowplowing services to Town roads through a priority and secondary route system.

When roads become icy, an initial pass of sand/salt is applied to all primary roads first (high-volume traffic), followed by all secondary roads (low-volume traffic).

As snow accumulates, an initial plowing pass is applied to all primary roads first followed by all secondary roads. Additional passes or changes to treatment responses may occur if staff encounters severe ongoing winter events. This may result in longer completion times.

The system assigns priority to all major roads with the highest traffic. Secondary routes (all residential streets in the Town) are attended to regularly, but less often than priority routes.

With a system of service based around snow levels and maintenance times, the Town works to keep roads safe and maintained efficiently.

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.

Sidewalks

Sidewalks can be cleared by the adjoining property owners as required or proactively. Sidewalks are cleared by Town crews as a level of service. The Town anticipates all sidewalks will be plowed at least once within 48 hours after a typical winter event. 

With sidewalks of various shapes and sizes, crews use an arsenal 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
  • Allows for more extensive maintenance of different sized and shaped sidewalks 

Residents are asked to keep vehicles parked away from sidewalks so both road and sidewalk plows can better clean the roads.

Parking lots and bus shelters

During winter, the Parks and Facilities Division ensures that all public service areas provided by the Town are as safe and accessible as possible. It maintains Town-owned parking lots. Public bus shelters are owned by York Region but are maintained by the Town of Georgina.

Keeping snow cleared on 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 this 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

Child safety

Please ensure that 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.

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.

Keep road allowances clear

To facilitate the removal of snow from sidewalks and to prevent damage to private property, residents are required not to place cars, fences, posts, hedges, shrubs, driveway curbs or other obstructions on the road allowance. The Town will not be responsible for damage to items placed on Town property by property owners.

Keep fire hydrants clear

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. 

Reporting damage to sod

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. Please call 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

When are overnight parking restrictions in effect?

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.

 

There is always a car parked on the street and the plow makes a mess trying to get around it. Can’t it be towed away?

During the day, unless the street is posted as “No Parking”, it is legal to park on the street for three consecutive hours. Parking is prohibited during the winter (Nov. 15 to April 15) on any street between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.

If the plow comes across a parked car that is causing problems during those hours, the Town can request that it be towed. The Town can also request police to remove vehicles that prevent the snow plow from passing. Residents can assist by reporting parked vehicles to the Town so a ticket can be issued. 

Why isn't 24/7 service provided on secondary routes?

Due to provincial regulations, there is a maximum number of hours plow drivers can be on duty. All drivers are typically required in at the same time on all routes to provide a consistent level of service across the Town during a snowfall.

 

My street doesn’t get plowed but the next street over, which is a residential street the same as mine, gets plowed every time it snows. Why?

All roads are serviced with the sand/salt mix and plowed in priority sequence.

 

Why do we salt/sand a road and then come along and plow it all off?

In a snowstorm, the Town first applies salt/sand mix to the road surface. This causes a melting action that helps prevent snow that falls later from freezing to the road surface. When the plow comes, the road gets cleared down to the pavement and helps reduce a frozen snow pack from forming that is difficult and expensive to remove later.

 

My driveway gets filled with snow every time the plow comes around, but my neighbour across the road gets almost nothing. Can’t you take the snow somewhere else?

A fixed snowplow cannot carry snow and move it to another location. Unfortunately, when a snowplow turns to the right it sweeps a much larger area of the road than when it is travelling in a straight line. The snow does not discharge from the plow when it is turning because the plows are angled from left to right on the truck. Turning right effectively makes the plow push all the snow ahead instead of moving it from the centre of the road to the side.   

The first driveway encountered after plow straightens out usually gets more snow than others in the immediate area.   

 

Why is the plow scraping the pavement?

For larger snowfalls, it is common to do an initial pass to clear streets and then follow up with a second pass. This clears new fallen and residual snow, and allows the plows to push the banks back to make room for snow storage that will be required for future storms. 

Residential streets are also plowed when they become soft or slushy to prevent ruts, potholes and icy conditions from developing when the temperature drops and the road re-freezes. When milder temperatures are experienced it also causes additional melt water that can lead to pooling of water and other drainage/flooding problems if catch basins are covered with ice and snow. Slush is removed from the edge of road to improve drainage leading to and around catch basins during the plowing process. Residents can assist the Town if there is a catch basin in front of their property, they could clear the snow off it through thaw periods. 

 

The sidewalk gets cleared on one side of my street but not the other. Why?

The Town works to clear all sidewalks as soon as possible after a snowfall. Sidewalk priorities include school zones, public buildings, etc. which generate a high level of pedestrian traffic.

 

Why are the sidewalks often done first, then the plow comes by after and pushes the snow back on the sidewalks?

Town staff do their best to co-ordinate sidewalk clearing to take place following road plowing, however, this is difficult during extended storms when multiple passes are required to clear roads. Sidewalk machines with blowers travel much slower than road plows, making it difficult to keep up.

This issue is especially common on bridges. Bridge decks are cleared on a regular basis but can become built up with snow over time due to limited space for snow storage on these structures. Roads and Parks and Facilities Division carries out snow lift/removals on bridges as required to make room for continued maintenance.

 

Why do I see sidewalk plows driving on the road?

The Town has a system of priority routes on arterial roads and residential routes that are assigned to various operators. Sidewalk plows often travel on roads to and from their route or work location as it is a quicker method of travel than by sidewalk.

Why are sidewalks sometimes so icy?

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.

 

Why is a sidewalk plow sanding the sidewalk today when rain and warm temperatures are in the forecast?

This is done when fluctuating temperatures are causing melting snow/ice that freezes as the temperature drops, resulting in slippery conditions on the sidewalks. Town sidewalk plows sand these areas in the interest of public safety to prevent slip and falls. The sanding process involves travelling the entire route to identify areas that require sanding.  

Are the blades on the Town's sidewalk plows wider than the standard?

The Town’s sidewalk machines blades are 58 inches wide (Cubex and Trackless) and 60 inches wide (Case Tractors), which is the standard width. 

What is an Electronic Spreader Control (ESC)?

ESC is a device installed in winter service vehicles that allow the operator to control the amount and location of where sand/salting materials are spread. This results in accurately dispersed materials.

 

What does an ESC accomplish?

It minimizes salt/sand waste by distributing the appropriate application rate. An ESC controls the amount of salt/sand dispersed based on the vehicle's speed. This maintains a consistent and accurate application of materials. 

Example: If a snow maintenance vehicle is traveling at a certain speed, an ESC is able to monitor the speed and adjust spreading levels accordingly.