Winter Snow & Ice Management

The City of Nelson maintains over 67 km of roads for winter conditions.    

Snowfall levels vary in different neighbourhoods of the city, seeing less accumulation in Fairview and more in the higher elevation areas of Uphill and Rosemont. 

The purpose of the Snow and Ice Control Plan is to provide for the safe passage of vehicles and pedestrians within the City of Nelson by ensuring that snow and ice control operations are carried out on roads and sidewalks in a timely manner in accordance with the priorities identified by Council.  This activity will be conducted within the limitations imposed by weather conditions, the natural environment and the availability of equipment, material, personnel and financial resources.

Snow Clearing & Sanding Priorities

Priority One is to clear and sand emergency routes, bus routes, major access routes and streets in the downtown core. 

Keep in mind that crews start at 4am for plowing priority routes. At 5am, sideplow plows begin their shifts and simultaneously clear the priority routes. 

During snow events, please ensure you are using the priority one routes which includes accessing schools and the downtown core and defer from using side streets when possible. 

Priority One Roads:

• Emergency routes

• Bus routes

• Downtown core

Priority Two Roads:

  • Critical Utility routes
  • Major hills

Priority Three Roads:

  • Cross streets
  • Intersections and crosswalks
  • Handicapped parking in the downtown core
  • Bus stops and fire hydrants

Priority Four Roads:

  • Dead end streets

Priority Five Roads:

  • Rear lanes
  • Dead end lanes 

In areas where rear lane is noted as being important to the collection of garbage and recycling, the lane may be plowed with increased priority.  City lanes and alleys in residential areas are generally not plowed; we thank residents for any assistance in keeping these areas passable.

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. 

Ice Control / Sanding on Roads

The City of Nelson’s Snow and Ice Control Policy indicates that the same priority routes identified in Schedule A for Snow Removal will also be utilized for Ice Control and Sanding.  The policy also directs that sanding will only take place on the following:

  • Hills
  • Curves
  • School zones
  • Bus stops
  • 30 metres before street-signalized intersections; and
  • 30 metres before stop signs.


Winter Road Closures

The following roads are closed to all vehicles during the entire snow season:

  • 900 block of Victoria St.

The following roads are subject to routine temporary closure during the entire snow season:

  • 600 & 700 Cedar St.
  • 600 & 700 Carbonate St.
  • 900 blocks of Josephine St.
  • 100 Hart St.

Other roads may be temporarily closed as required after a snow event. 


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. 

City maintained sidewalks may be temporarily closed as required after a snow event.  

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.

City maintained stairs may be temporarily closed as required after a snow event.    


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

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. 

 The Snow and Ice Control Policy is available on this page or here.

(The Snow and Ice Control Plan priority route maps may require updates for oversights or route changes as our community grows.  The updated maps will then be taken to Council to be re-adopted.)

  If you have further questions or concerns, please call Public Works 250-352-8238.