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City readies for blast of winter

By Don Fennell

Published 12:35 PST, Thu January 21, 2021

Richmond is expecting its first snowfall of the season this weekend. But while it’s forecast to be light, the city is prepared none the less.

Public works crews will be ready to respond to any snow or icy conditions, says city spokesperson Clay Adams.

A centralized command will continuously oversee efforts to address snow, ice or severe weather at any point during the winter. Following regular weather updates, staff will also monitor road conditions through six road temperature sensors and dispatch equipment and crews where needed.

Richmond’s snow response plan includes 41 specialized vehicles and equipment. The works yard is also stocked with 1,000 tonnes of salt onsite, with 2,200 in reserve. A secondary location will also be stocked with salt to reduce travel times and increase efficiencies on the east side of the city.

The priority will be on keeping all major arterial roads clear to ensure emergency vehicles and others can travel safely along these routes.

If needed, crews will work 12-hour shifts around the clock clearing snow, laying down anti-icing liquid brine and or salting roads to keep frost or ice from forming.

While local conditions are expected to stay mainly sunny through Friday, Environment Canada is forecasting overnight lows to dip around or below the freezing mark starting tonight and for the next several days. A mix of sun and cloud is forecast for Saturday, followed by snow in the evening hours. That will be followed by a chance of flurries or rain showers through next Thursday.

The City of Richmond encourages residents to always be prepared for weather conditions—especially with the current ongoing pandemic. A residents guide to winter weather is available online at and includes safety and preparedness tips. Residents are advised to plan ahead for bad weather and if in doubt, not to go out. They are also reminded that Traffic Bylaw 5870 requires that owners and occupants of single- and multi-family homes, as well as commercial and industrial units, to clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their properties no later than 10 a.m. every day. Snow should be shovelled onto lawns or into designated parking stalls, not the street where it can create a hazard. Storm drains and grates must also be kept clear of snow and debris.

For more on the city’s snow response, visit Updates during snow and ice events will be posted on Twitter at and Facebook at

The Canada Safety Council has also issues a reminder that winter driving requires extra caution. 

“Winter driving can be challenging at any time but more so when snow and slush interfere with solid contact with the road and the clear visibility we enjoy in the non-winter season,” said Gareth Jones, president and CEO of the Canada Safety Council. “As we move into the season of snow and ice it’s always good to take a minute to remind ourselves of what it takes to drive in winter conditions.”

Winter brings a set of environmental hazards that aren’t present during the summer. Snowbanks may encroach on roadways, providing more restricted access to some lanes. Give yourself room to manoeuvre your vehicle. Remember: patience is an important tool in our defensive driving toolset that can help keep the roads safe for everyone.

Additionally, obstructions like snowbanks can limit sight lines, making constant awareness of your surroundings more difficult. To counter this, slow down and emphasize seeing and being seen in your priorities. If you can’t see around a corner, move slowly while covering the brakes. Be prepared to stop suddenly if another road user enters your field of vision suddenly.

Give yourself some time before leaving to check the weather conditions and consider canceling or delaying your trip if conditions appear to be worsening. Should you be able to leave safely, clear your car of snow and ice before doing so — it’s more than a suggestion, it’s the law. Uncleared snow and ice can act as a projectile if it comes flying off your vehicle.

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