City preparing for more snow and cold temperatures this week


Over the past two weeks, Nanaimo has been hit hard with an unusual weather pattern including freezing temperatures and the heaviest snowfall of the season. Since December 21, 2021, more than 60 centimetres of snow was received in some areas while other areas received close to 80 centimetres. The City is now preparing for another series of snowstorms and freezing temperatures starting today.

The City understands the hardship that this winter weather is bringing with it. Here's what you need to know during a snow event:

Snow Control Activities:

The City uses a three-tier priority system when plows are deployed to clear Nanaimo’s roads:

  • Priority 1 Routes: Emergency routes and all major roads
  • Priority 2 Routes: Secondary roads
  • Priority 3 Routes: Residential areas (cul-de-sacs and dead ends)

The City’s three-tier system puts emergency routes first and gives fire, police, and ambulance the best chance to respond to emergency situations. Once it stops snowing and Priority 1 routes are clear, crews turn their focus to residential areas. If snow continues to fall and Priority 1 routes need clearing again, crews are re-deployed and sent back to maintain these routes.

City staff also maintain public access to City facilities by clearing sidewalks, parking lots, bridges, the Waterfront Walkway and E&N trail. For those enjoying our parks, a reminder that trails, boardwalks, bridges, stairs and playground equipment can become slippery and hazardous when there is snow and ice. Please take care and walk with caution.

To report any concerns or issues in Nanaimo's parks and trails, please contact Nanaimo Parks & Recreation at 250-756-5200 or email


Winter driving conditions continue on Nanaimo roads with packed snow or the potential for frozen, icy conditions on most roads. Please stay home if you do not need to travel. If you do have to go out, expect slippery winter conditions, plan to take extra time, drive cautiously and leave plenty of room between you and other drivers. Taking transit is also an option. For further information please refer to our Snow and Ice Control webpage.

Sidewalk Clearing:

We understand that heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures and plowed snow have made it a challenge to clear some sidewalks. If you are able, please help pedestrians travel through Nanaimo safely by clearing the snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of your property. Consider lending a hand to a neighbour who may need assistance as well.

To help avoid flooding and ice in your neighbourhood as the snow melts and refreezes, please take a moment to clear any snow-covered catch basins (storm drains) that are next to your property. The more water than can run into our storm drains, the safer our streets and properties will be as freezing temperatures return.

Garbage, Recycling and Organics collection:

Curbside collection resumed on, January 4, 2022, but with slippery roads, collection this week will be moving at a slower pace than usual. Due to snow and ice build-up creating slick and sometimes narrow roadways, pickup will only happen where it is safe to do so.

The City recognizes the need for you to be safe as well, and if you do not feel safe taking your carts to the curb, please do not. If collection is missed at your home this week, or if you choose to keep your carts in for safety, you will be permitted to put extra recycling out on your next scheduled recycling day or extra garbage out on your next garbage collection day. Extra recycling and garbage is only permitted if your collection day is missed. Please see our Curbside Collection webpage for more details.

Stay up to date with conditions on and on social media (@CityofNanaimo on Facebook and Twitter). For up-to-date information on public transit, follow @RDN_Transit on Twitter. Please also listen to our local radio stations the Wave 102.3 or Wolf 106.9.

Visit our Snow and Ice Control webpage for information on the City's response to snow and what residents and commuters can do to stay safe.

Link to Strategic Plan: Keeping our community safe is an important part of Livability and a responsibility of Governance Excellence.

Key Points

  • Nanaimo is 91.3 square kilometres and has over 644 kms of roads, nearly 775 cul-de-sacs, 453 kms of sidewalks, 103 kms of bicycle lanes, and 180 kms of trails.
  • The City uses a three-tier priority route system for plowing that puts emergency routes first, and gives fire, police, and ambulance the best chance to respond quickly in emergency situations.
  • Nanaimo's crews have been operating 24/7 with all available resources deployed to clear snow and ice since December 24, 2021.


"This has been a particularly challenging winter so far, and we understand the impact it has had on all of our daily lives. It’s been a challenge getting to work, getting groceries, and travelling throughout our city. And we can relate to the inconvenience that comes with missed recycling and garbage days. We ask for your understanding as City staff work day and night to clear our streets and prepare for the next wave of snow. Unfortunately, we aren’t out of the snowstorm yet."

City of Nanaimo

Quick Facts

  • There are a few key routes that are owned and maintained by the Province rather than the City of Nanaimo. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure maintains Highway 19 (Nanaimo Parkway and Duke Point Highway), Highway 19A (Island Highway), Brechin Road and Stewart Avenue.


How to Clear Snow from a Catch Basin
How to Clear Snow from a Catch Basin
Public Works: Snow Plow Priority Routes
Public Works: Snow Plow Priority Routes


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