Council approves updated Winter Maintenance Policy

September 27, 2022

Council approves updated Winter Maintenance Policy

New priorities and shorter timeframe for clearing trails and pathways

Strathcona County Council has approved an updated Winter Maintenance Policy that guides snow clearing and ice control for roads, trails, parking lots and transit stops.

The changes to the policy include improved service levels for clearing the 232 km of trails and pathways in Sherwood Park and rural hamlets, with a shortened timeframe from eight days to five days. While trail clearing priorities have always been applied, they are now included and clearly outlined in the policy:

  • Priority 1 (within 24 hours) - School sites, including student drop zones, school bus zones, school parks and connector sidewalks from residential areas
  • Priority 2 (within 48 hours) - All hard surface sidewalks and trails leading to public recreation facilities
  • Priority 3 (within 120 hours/5 days) - All remaining hard surface trails, including trails between residential streets

The updated policy was informed by public engagement completed in spring 2022, including a public survey and feedback sessions with local school boards and advisory groups.  Full and summary reports are available: strathcona.ca/engagementreports.

There is no anticipated increase in the winter maintenance operations budget to achieve the improved service levels. This was a focus for the County, as 54 per cent of survey respondents said they did not support a tax increase to shorten trail-clearing timelines. A previously planned capital budget request of two sidewalk and trail cleaning machines will be brought forward this fall to Council for consideration. This equipment will help meet the needs of the growth in trail network seen over the last several years. 

Changes to snow clearing thresholds on urban roads

The County will continue to use a priority approach for clearing roads in rural and urban areas.

However, the policy update includes changes to the thresholds for clearing Priority 3 collector roads (snow routes) and Priority 4 residential streets in Sherwood Park.

  • Snow routes will be cleared after 15 cm of snowfall (previously 15-21 cm).
  • Residential streets will be cleared after 7 cm of compacted snow (previously 10 cm before January 1 and 7 cm after January 1).
  • The threshold for clearing all urban roads within five days after a significant winter storm has changed from 17 cm to 25 cm of snowfall in a 48-hour period.

For an overview of all winter roads priorities, visit strathcona.ca/winterroads.

Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595