Winter storm season is upon us

Nanaimo residents reminded to be prepared


Cold and rainy weather has made it's way into Nanaimo and now is a good time for residents to prepare for winter weather and storm conditions.

Around the Home

To help avoid flooding during heavy rain or melting snow, residents are asked to clear leaves and debris from catch basins at storm drains near their properties. In the event of snow, property owners or occupants are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their properties within 24 hours, so that pedestrians have a safe place to walk and can stay clear of oncoming traffic. The City will clear sidewalks around parks, bridges, commuter trails and major City facilities as quickly as staff can get to them. Residents should also ensure they have supplies in the event of a major snow fall or power outage.

Should waste pick up be interrupted due to road conditions, notices will be sent out through the Nanaimo Recycles app, on Facebook and the website. If pick up is delayed, please ensure you maximize the use of all three bins so your garbage doesn't fill up before the other bins, thoroughly rinse recycling to avoid attracting pests and break cardboard down to maximize space.

When in Nanaimo's Parks

Please use caution in Nanaimo's parks during stormy weather. Trails, boardwalks, bridges, stairs and playground equipment can become slippery and hazardous when there is rain, snow and ice. They can be littered with debris and even tree branches during and after windstorms. After a rain storm or a snow melt, rivers can experience high flow conditions, so please exercise extreme caution when using trailways along riverbanks. To report any concerns or issues in Nanaimo's parks and trails, please call 250-756-5200 or email

On the Roads

During a snowfall, the City's priority is to plow and maintain priority 1 routes, which are emergency routes and all major roads. Residential areas are typically plowed and maintained within 96 hours unless snow and icy conditions return plow crews back to priority 1 routes. Roads can become narrower as plows clear snow to the sides. To help, residents can park in their driveways, or on even sides of the road on even-numbered days, and on odd sides of the road on odd-numbered days.

Drivers are reminded to ensure vehicles are winter ready for driving in snow and ice conditions. Drivers must slow down and leave extra clearance for snow plows, salt trucks and ice equipment. Drivers should not pass when equipment is operating. For all methods of commuting, be extra alert, aware, be seen and stay safe in any inclement weather.

To report a concern or make a suggestion regarding snow and ice control, please contact the City of Nanaimo Public Works department at 250-758-5222 or

In the case of extreme storm weather that may warrant an emergency response or major closures, alerts will be sent out on the City's emergency alert system. Learn about Voyent Alert! and sign-up for emergency notifications at

Link to Strategic Plan: Ensuring residents are prepared for the winter storm season supports the City's commitment to public safety.

Key Points

  • The City of Nanaimo focuses on maintaining good winter driving conditions in a priority order: Priority 1 routes - emergency routes and all major roads; Priority 2 routes - secondary roads; and Priority 3 routes - residential culs-de-sac and dead ends.
  • When snow plows and salt trucks are operating, drivers must keep back a safe distance and may not pass. To help plows clear a wider path on roads, residents can park in their driveways, or on even sides of the road on even days, and odd sides of the road on odd days.
  • Bylaw 5000, Section 22 (1) requires residents and businesses to clear sidewalks of snow and ice within 24 hours of a snowfall or freeze. Residents can also help minimize flooding by keeping the catch basins in front of their homes free of leaves, debris, snow and ice (if it is safe to do so).
  • When possible, residents are encouraged to stay home during times of heavy snow or icy roads.


"Preparation is the key to weathering any storm. By taking proactive steps around our homes, in our parks, and on the roads, we can ensure safety and readiness in the face of unpredictable weather conditions."

City of Nanaimo

Quick Facts

  • During an extreme weather event, stay informed by listening to your local radio stations, checking the City's website and social media sites for updates. Sign up for the City's emergency alert system at
  • Stewart Avenue, Brechin Road, the Nanaimo Parkway (Highway 19) and the old Island Highway (19A), Pearson Bridge south and Brechin Rd north are maintained by the BC Ministry of Transportation Infrastructure. Please report any concerns or issues to 1-877-215-6006 or email
  • Nanaimo's Roads and Traffic Services is responsible for maintaining approximately 1,100 lane kms of paved streets.
  • Salt is only effective at melting ice down to -6 degrees Celsius. Brine (liquid salt solution) is used to prevent icing as well as preventing snow and ice from bonding to the road surface.


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