Opinion: Too many in Burnaby did a disgraceful job clearing snow

Chris Campbell

“What do we say about somebody who only does the bare minimum?” – line from the move Office Space.

That line is supposed to be mocking the person who is saying it, but sometimes it’s useful to shine a light on those who didn’t put in a full effort.

Burnaby has a strong and responsible business community, but there are a few stragglers who sometimes drop the ball.

This past week was an example.

Look at the photo of a North Burnaby parking lot and you’ll see a prime example. I took it on Friday at the little strip mall located next to Lougheed mall. Whoever the landlord is did a half-assed job of snow removal because they just piled the snow so it blocks two parking spots set aside for people with disabilities.

That’s just disgraceful.

If you’re going to take the time to clear a parking lot, go the distance and ensure people with disabilities have the best access.

There have been a lot of examples of this bare-minimum effort in Burnaby. How many sidewalks did you see around businesses or apartment complexes in which there was a tiny sliver of space cleared, but not enough if you were pushing a buggy or using a mobility scooter or a wheeler.

The City of Burnaby can’t get off too lightly, either. I saw a lot of curb cuts that were completely blocked. People were trying hard to climb over to use the crosswalks.

We might get another dump of snow before winter is done. I’ve seen bad snow storms in February. If it happens again, landlords, the city, businesses and home owners all have to do a better job of clearing the snow. Don’t just carve out a tiny space. Go all the way.

According to the city, owners or occupiers of single-family, two-family, multi-family, industrial, commercial or institutional properties are responsible for:

  • Removing any snow or ice accumulation from all sidewalks surrounding their property; and
  • Snow and ice to be removed no later than 10:00 AM every day, including holidays, per Section 31 of Burnaby's Street and Traffic Bylaw


Burnaby's Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw was updated in 2017 and increased the fines for not removing snow and ice from sidewalks. City staff will be inspecting properties when complaints are received about uncleared sidewalks, and may issue the following fines:

Fines range from $100 to $400.

Learn the correct way to remove snow this winter with the city’s Do's and Don'ts page.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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