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Efforts to clear snow from roads sees fines rise

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Already out ticketing cars parked on streets between 4 and 9 a.m., Woolwich will ban parking on roads for 24 hours following the declaration of a snow event. That too will come with a fine once the fees are approved by the province.

The fee schedule approved this week by township council sees most of the fines in the $35 to $50 range, though clearing snow from your driveway onto the road could see you hit with a $105 penalty.

The addition of a snow-event designation was part of the amendments to the traffic and parking bylaw OK’d at Tuesday night’s council meeting. The changes extend the toolkit available to township staff in keeping the roads clear when plow trucks are out moving snow.

Woolwich currently enforces a ban of on-street parking during posted hours between December 1 and March 31. But with heavier snowfalls, the long prohibition makes snow-clearing easier and safer, explained township clerk Val Hummel.

The declaration of a snow event will extend the ban, typically coming into effect at 5 p.m. or 12 a.m. and lasting a minimum of 24 hours, unless cancelled by the township.

Woolwich joins Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and North Dumfries Township in adopting a snow-event designation, said Hummel.

The on-street parking ban – 4-9 a.m. – came into effect last week, with Hummel noting residents can be confused because that differs from the year-round prohibition on parking on regional roads between 2:30 and 6:30 a.m.

She noted that the ban is not weather-dependent – even if there’s no snow on the ground or in the forecast, there’s never any leniency. Ticketing those in violation regularly makes the process fair and helps to educate the public, she said.

The declaration of a snow event will see enforcement step up a notch.

“Parking is prohibited on any township road or street at any time (day or night) during a declared snow event. Vehicles parked on the road or street during a declared snow event can be ticketed and possibly towed. Ticketing by enforcement services staff, with assistance from designated operations staff, can commence from the time that the snow event is declared and will continue until it is over or cancelled,” reads a report introducing the new control measure.

The prohibition extends to those who park their cars on the road while they clear their driveways, a prospect that raised a red flag for Coun. Larry Shantz.

Director of infrastructure services Jared Puppe, who’ll be making the call on snow events, said there won’t be an issue if the road has already been cleared, with snowplow operators likely giving people a chance to move their cars rather than going right to ticketing.

“We’re trying to take a reasonable approach,” he said, noting the process is “not vexatious.”

Likewise, the fines are not punishment, but rather a way to ensure crews are able to get the job done, he added.

While the township now has the power to declare snow events, the issuing of tickets will have to wait until the fines are formally approved by the provincial Attorney General, Hummel explained.

The township is also in the process of deputizing snowplow operators to issue tickets.

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