With the onset of winter, Airdrie residents are gearing up for the annual snow-clearing routine, ensuring that roads, sidewalks, and driveways are safely navigable. However, the city's snow-clearing bylaws are more than just guidelines; they carry implications for residents who fail to comply.

Airdrie's community standards bylaw No.B-09/2012 states that all property owners have 24 hours once the snow stops to clear the sidewalks in front and alongside their property. This rule is not just about aesthetics; safety concerns primarily drive it. Clearing snow from sidewalks is a collective effort to maintain a safe and accessible community.

The city strictly instructs residents not to pile snow onto the roadways. Snow on the road poses risks to passing vehicles and pedestrians. When this rule is not followed, it becomes a city-wide issue, burdening municipal resources. If snow clearing were added to the city's responsibilities, it would inevitably lead to higher taxes for residents.

Dumping snow onto roadways rather than lawns and other designated areas also exacerbates parking issues when large snow piles obstruct neighbourhood streets. Airdrie's snow removal bylaw exists, at its core, to address safety concerns and maintain the city's functionality. 

When Municipal Enforcement receives a complaint, an officer confirms that the property violates our bylaw. According to Maury Karch, with Airdrie Municipal Enforcement, they are very reasonable with time frames and give extra time where needed, but if a complaint does come in and they come by to check it out, all residents in the area in noncompliance will be notified. 

"I'll go into a culdesac, it's one house or one sidewalk but there'll be five others. I fill out the blue door hanger, giving them a further 24 hours to clear their sidewalk."

Should a homeowner neglect to clear snow within the designated period, they may receive the "blue door hanger." This serves as a reminder to remove the snow within 24 hours, accompanied by a reference to the bylaw. In cases of continued non-compliance, the city may hire contractors to clear the snow, with the associated costs added to the homeowner's tax bill.

Residents who fail to clear their sidewalks within the specified timeframe assume liability for any accidents or injuries that may occur as a result. Municipal enforcement takes complaints seriously but often provides homeowners with an opportunity to rectify the situation.

If you are the owner of a property that's vacant or has renters, you are responsible for making sure the property is cleared of snow said Karch.

"The owner is ultimately responsible whether you have renters in there or not. The property owner gets the bill." 

According to Municipal Enforcement, penalties for non-compliance can be a fine of $300 per offence. If a resident is found to be in repeated non-compliance, the fine could double and mandatory court appearances are possible for those persistent offenders.

If you are using equipment such as a snow blower, to do your driveways and sidewalks, they would also like to remind residents that noise control hours are in effect Monday to Saturday from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Sunday, including all Statutory Holidays, from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Airdrie's snow-clearing bylaws are not just regulatory guidelines but essential tools to ensure community safety and maintain the efficient operation of the city. As the snow season approaches, residents are reminded of their obligations to create a safer and more accessible environment for all.

In 2021, Airdrie Municipal Enforcement officers attended 205 files regarding snow complaints, finding that 134 violated the Community Standards Bylaw regarding clearing snow from sidewalks. In contrast, the vast majority of snow clearing was completed by residents and only 17 of the infractions needed to be completed by a contractor. 

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