Winter Snow & Ice Management

Snowfall levels vary in different areas of the city, with less accumulation in Fairview and more in Uphill and areas of Rosemont. Nelson’s snow management plan works to ensure safe  routes for motorists and pedestrians. Since the snow removal budget is  insufficient to cover the removal of all snow accumulation on every  street, our snow plan is based on a priority system. 

Snow Clearing & Sanding Priorities 

Our goal is to keep Nelson safe for all the travelling public. Our first priority is to clear and sand emergency routes, major access routes and streets in the downtown area. 

Subsequent priorities are: 

  • Clear and sand bus routes. 
  • Clear and sand streets that are considered major hills and are not already cleared.
  • Clear and sand the cross-streets and any other streets that are not already cleared. 
  • Clear and sand the dead-end streets. 
  • Clear and sand the designated sidewalk routes and stairs. 
  • Clear and sand intersection crosswalks, bus stops, and handicapped parking in the downtown area. 
  • Clear the residential bus stops and fire hydrants. 
  • Clear intersections back for improved sight visibility. 
  • Clear alley entrances in the downtown core and later in residential areas. 
  • Clear the residential lanes and alleys. 

Although we try to avoid placing snow on sidewalks or private driveways, sometimes this is unavoidable. City lanes and alleys in residential areas are generally not plowed; we thank any residents for assistance in keeping these areas passable. 

Note: Occasionally damages to private property and public boulevards occur during snow removal. Please advise the City in writing if damage occurs. We are unable to accept liability for, or repair boulevard lawns damage by sand from winter operations. Your cooperation in the removal of sand from boulevards in the spring is appreciated; sand can be placed on the street where it does not impede traffic. We scrape, sweep and flush the streets each spring, including sand removed from boulevards. 

Parking Restrictions - Residential 

To enable snow removal, parking restrictions may be applied. Some streets may be temporarily closed during extreme weather events.  

Please obey all snow removal signs at all times.
It is required that you move your vehicle at least once every 72 hours, and park it where snow has been cleared so that plows can clear the area you’ve vacated. If you will be away, please make arrangements for the care of your vehicle if parked on the street or on public property.  

Odd / Even Parking Rule - November 1 - April 30th

In all residential areas, where it is practical and legal, please park on the even numbered side of the street on even numbered days of the month, and on the odd numbered side of the street on odd numbered days to facilitate efficient snow removal. 

Snow Removal 

Snow that cannot be plowed onto boulevards must be hauled  away. Accumulated snow is windrowed, and then loaded with the blower  into tandem trucks. The removal plan map shows the downtown areas where  snow is loaded and hauled during the midnight and early shifts. Removal  in all other areas of the city is completed on day or afternoon shift. 

Sidewalk Plowing & Sanding 

Designated, high-traffic sidewalks are plowed; on these streets, the sidewalk on one side of the street only will be cleared, including steps. This gives pedestrians a cleared route to walk to all areas of the City. 

The approved sidewalk route is 20 kilometers of the total 55 kilometers of sidewalks in the City. Please take extra precautions ins snowy conditions: wear appropriate footwear, and choose a sidewalk that has been cleared of snow when possible. 

Sidewalk Snow Removal by Residents 

For sidewalks outside the designated route it is the responsibility of the property owner or occupier to clear the snow and enable safe passage for pedestrians. 

The Traffic Bylaw states that: “Every  owner or occupier of residential premises shall remove accumulation of  snow or ice upon any constructed means of access including but not  limited to sidewalks, stairs or driveways adjacent to the land or  premises owned or occupied no later than 11:00 am of any day." 


Certain sets of stairs are part of the sidewalk system and are cleaned and sanded by our day shift crew 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Steps have limited or no plowing and sanding after 3 p.m. or on weekends or statutory holidays  


There are regularly maintained sandboxes located throughout the city located on steep and dead-end streets that are low priority for snow clearing. 

Additionally, during the winter sand is available under the orange bridge for public use.

Be smart, stay safe: 

  • Please give our snow removal equipment the right of way; we are working hard to get people to their destinations safely.  
  • Drive carefully and pay attention to road conditions.  
  • Plan your route: take emergency or bus routes and avoid streets with steep grades. 
  • Don’t let children play in or on the snow windrows near the street. This hazardous activity could endanger their lives.