Snow and Ice Control

snow updates   

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook (CityofNanaimo) for news on the latest clearing activity, road conditions and other alerts. For non-emergency snow and ice problems, call our Public Works department at 250-758-5222.

snow procedures - plowing through it.

We get it. It's really frustrating to be trapped at home during or following a snowfall. With more than 1,500 lane km of City streets, there's a lot to keep clear when it snows. We use a three-tier priority system when we send our City plows out to clear Nanaimo's roads:

  • Priority 1 routes: Emergency routes and all major roads
  • Priority 2 routes: Secondary roads
  • Priority 3 routes: Residential culs-de-sac and dead ends

This system sets emergency routes, key transit routes and main arterial roads as a priority to keep our City moving. Then we "plow" on to secondary roads within residential areas, and finally remaining roads, culs-de-sac and other dead-end streets. * Please note: as long as it is snowing, crews will be focused on keeping Priority 1, followed by Priority 2 routes clear. This means it could take upwards of 96 hours or more for crews to start clearing residential areas, especially Priority 3 routes.

Highways in and around Nanaimo (Stewart Avenue, Brechin Road, Highway 1, the Nanaimo Parkway and the old Island Highway) are maintained by the BC Ministry of Transportation Infrastructure's contractor, Mainroad. Please report any concerns or issues to 1-877-215-6006 or email

As well as street plowing, the City also maintains public access to City facilities by clearing sidewalks, parking lots, bridges, the Waterfront Walkway and the E&N trail.  

As for bike lanes, we clear three lanes in the city - Front Street, Bowen Road from Labieux to the Old Island Highway and Metral Drive. These all connect to other multi-use trails throughout the City and are cleared when we have equipment in the area and after we have cleared the sidewalks in the area that we maintain. You may notice that the bike lanes may seem more clear of snow. That's for a number of reasons including, during a snowfall, the bike lanes get salted along with the road next to them from salting trucks and many cyclist may choose other forms of transportation, which means less snow becoming compact making it easier to clear and stay clear. 

sidewalks 101

It's a matter of safety, not just convenience. Unfortunately, we don't have enough City staff to clear everyone's sidewalk when it snows. This is where you come in, Nanaimo. Please shovel, salt and keep your sidewalks and storefronts clear. We do recognize that not everyone can physically clear the snow in front of their own residence or business, but that doesn't change the importance of clearing it. Please make arrangements if you need help, and also if you expect to be away from home or work during the winter season. 

When you are out shovelling, please also consider lending a hand to your neighbour. There are some people in our community who may have difficulty clearing snow and ice and could use a helping hand.

We want to take this opportunity and thank you for doing your part in being a good neighbour. If you’re a business owner, we are confident that your customers also thank you for doing your part in clearing the sidewalks for them!

Bylaw 5000, Section 22 (1) - Sidewalk Clearing

Yeah, sidewalk clearing is not just a request - it's a bylaw. Residents, occupants, tenants and businesses are required to clear snow and ice, within 24 hours of a snow event as per City Bylaw 5000, Section 22 (1). The City clears sidewalks around parks, bridges and major City facilities. 

play it again, snow. Videos and resources

Videos, brochures and more

Learn even more about the City’s snow and ice management practices through our videos, Snow and Ice Removal brochure and our FAQ below.


  • Snow and Ice Control brochure (PDF)
  • Snow Related FAQs

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    Public Works Department

    Last updated: June 20, 2024

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