THE Vancouver forecast is calling for several days of snow and freezing temperatures starting as early as this Sunday, December 18, and the City is encouraging residents to only undertake essential travel and to take safety precautions if they need to drive.
For people experiencing homelessness, the City will be opening additional indoor spaces.
The City says it prioritizes snow and ice treatment with a focus on:
- major roads and bus routes;
- bridges and bridge sidewalks;
- main streets adjacent to major hospitals;
- the four major pedestrian pathways – Arbutus Greenway, Central Valley Greenway, False Creek Seawall, and Coal Harbour Seawall; and
- the 16 most-used bike routes.
Residential side streets are not included as part of the treatment plans, with the exception of priority hills and access routes to hospitals and schools.
There are many things residents can do to help keep the city safe:
- Remove snow before it hardens to ice. Vancouver property owners and tenants are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the full width of sidewalks that surround their property by 10 a.m. following a snowfall as a key measure to promote safety and accessibility of routes. This bylaw is in effect seven days a week and failure to do so can result in fines.
- On snow days, only take essential trips. This helps keep the roads clear for City crews who are out treating snow and ice on the roads. If you need to be on the roads, travel with caution and give way to, or stay at a safe distance when following a plow, salt or brine truck.
- Equip your vehicle with the right tires for the conditions.
- Learn about preparing an emergency kit for your car and what to do if you get stuck
- If your car is parked on a major route, move it to a side street to make room for plows.
- Check Translink for transit updates and the Provincial DriveBC website to plan travel on highways and commuter bridges exiting Vancouver.
If you are unable to clear your walk and have no other alternatives, you are encouraged to sign up for the Snow Angel Program where volunteers are matched with people with mobility issues to help clear their sidewalks.
Support for people sleeping outside
To ensure that people sleeping outside can come into warm, safe spaces during Vancouver’s coldest months, the City and partners are once again activating a variety of spaces to encourage people to come in from the cold. Due to very cold weather and forecasted snow this week, the City of Vancouver anticipates opening a number of warming centres, starting Sunday, December 18 given temperatures dropping further.
Warming Centres are open when the temperature feels like -5°C or below or actual temperature of -4°C as a life-saving measure for people sleeping outside. While they are not set up with beds or mats, hot drinks and snacks are available. The most up-to-date information can be found on the City’s social media pages, and at https://mobile.twitter.com/
Extreme Weather Response Shelters and Warming Centres are in addition to Temporary Winter Shelters, which are open every night between November and March.
Extreme Weather Response Shelters
These are currently open to provide additional spaces at the following locations:
Directions Youth Services Centre
- 1138 Burrard Street
- 10pm – 7am
- 3833 Boundary Road
- 9:30pm – 9am
Bud Osborn EWR
- 27 West Hastings Street
- 7pm – 7am
The Salvation Army Belkin House
- 555 Homer Street
- 9pm – 7am
- 282 West 49th Avenue
- 9:30pm – 7am
These will be open starting December 18, at the following locations:
Powell Street Getaway (DTES)
- 450 East Hastings Street *continued operation*
- 9pm – 7:30am
Odd Fellows Hall (Fairview)
- 1433 West 8th Avenue
- 9:30pm – 8:30am
Marpole Neighbourhood House
- 8585 Hudson Street
- 10pm – 8:30am
- 609 Helmcken Street
- 8:30pm – 7:30am
Mount Pleasant Community Centre
- 1 Kingsway (entrance off 8th)
- 10:30pm – 6:30am
Extreme Weather Response Shelters provide mats to sleep on and are open during extreme rain, wind, snow or when the temperature feels like 0°C or below. Depending on the location, visitors to these warm spaces may bring pets, bikes and carts with them.