Snow Removal in Lake Cowichan, BC

The Town of Lake Cowichan receives most of its precipitation in the form of rain. The Town does occasionally, when temperatures dip to freezing, receive it in the form of snow, which results in the Town having to adjust its normal operations to cope with snowfalls which have not been as common in recent years. Our works crew and equipment have to be mobilized for snow removal operations when temperatures dip to zero and the forecasts call for snow. We still have to ensure that the water and sewer systems are maintained and water main breaks repaired. We have to multi-task the public's priorities so all of its needs are met, which often results in our public works employees working over-time during business days and week-ends. Longer shifts and early starts for our employees sometimes become necessary.

First Priority

  • Clearing snow from all emergency establishments such as the fire station and ambulance station occurs first.
  • Snow clearing of all main roads (Sahtlam Avenue to Lake Cowichan School and Grosskleg Way to Palsson School, King George St., Cowichan and Stone Avenues) occur as soon as operators and equipment are mobilized.
  • The main concern is keeping the main roadways open to traffic.
  • Clearing snow from the main hills throughout Town is next. 
  • Work is discontinued at nightfall. 

Second Priority

Local Neighbourhood Roads (collector roads) will be cleared after the main roads (listed above) are completed. Through roads will be cleared first, followed then by cul-de-sacs. If the snow continues, or starts again, the crews will return to the priority main roads. When the snow stops it takes less than 48 hours to clear all roads in Lake Cowichan, unless there is equipment failure. Road widening occurs-- where the snow is pushed further back to the curb to make room for traffic, as well as prepare us for the possibility of another snow fall.

Other Snow Clearing Facts

Why does the plough push the snow into my driveway?
Shovelling snow is hard work and it is understandable that you may be frustrated when the plough driver deposits snow into your freshly shovelled area. Operators are aware of the inconvenience and attempt to avoid the problem wherever possible. However, please keep in mind that it is not feasible for the plough to be lifted or stopped at each driveway as it passes.  

Do I have to clear the sidewalk in front of my property?
Yes, snow is required to be removed from sidewalks by 10:00 a.m. following the snowfall, by the home owner, commercial property owner or the occupier.  The Town deeply appreciates the efforts of those citizens who regularly assist their elderly and/or disabled neighbours in this regard.  Ensure that your garbage, organic and recycling containers are placed closer to the driveway for easier access by your service providers.  The Town uses a special sand mix for its roads and the use of salt is avoided.

Does the Town Have Vehicles Impounded During Snowfalls?
We ask that residents park their vehicles in their driveways or on their property.  Yes, the Town may have vehicles removed during snowfalls if these impede snow removal operations as routes have to be kept clear, especially for emergency traffic.  The owners of these vehicles will be responsible for all fees and charges relating to the impoundment. The Town will not be held liable for damages incurred during snow plough operations.  Help the Town by doing your part so the roadways and pathways may be kept clear for all of us 

Tips for snow clearing:
  • Pile snow to the right side of your driveway, when facing the road, to prevent it from being pushed back onto your driveway by snow ploughs.
  • Please do not shovel snow onto the roadways, sidewalks or into the bicycle lanes.
  • Clear snow soon after it falls. It is more difficult to remove snow after it has been packed down.