CLOSED: This discussion has concluded

The City of Niagara Falls launched an online Sidewalk Snow Removal Survey to help measure and better understand the needs and opinions of residents related to sidewalk snow removal during the winter months.

This Let’s Talk Niagara Falls engagement came in response to a motion approved by Council on October 26, 2021 that directed staff to gather public input from residents, and from members of the Seniors Advisory Committee, as we look to update our current level of service, in consideration of the impacts to inclusiveness, accessibility, and the financial implications.

Until April 1, 2022 the City of Niagara Falls looked for resident input towards the proposed service level options that are being considered. Results of the public engagement will be presented to Council and next steps will be determined.


The Province of Ontario sets Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS) that define the high-level responsibilities and liabilities municipalities must adhere to with respect to winter maintenance of sidewalks.

The City has a Winter Maintenance Policy Plan that currently defines approximately 200 km out of 600 km of sidewalks throughout Niagara Falls, which includes sidewalks along high volume roadways and school routes, those with high pedestrian volumes, and sidewalks in proximity to health-care facilities.

An interactive map of the currently maintained sidewalks can be found here.

At present the City relies on residents to clear the sidewalks that are adjacent to their property (if they are not included in 200 km the City maintains), although there is no sidewalk snow clearing bylaw in place.

Several options to improve accessibility of sidewalks and reduce the City’s overall risk of liability at unmaintained sidewalks were outlined in a staff report for Council’s consideration. There are four potential scenarios being discussed regarding the level of service for winter sidewalk maintenance in Niagara Falls:

Option 1 - Current State (Status Quo) Service Levels
The City continues to maintain one-third of the sidewalk inventory. New sidewalks would be continually be evaluated, and budgeted for increase in accordance with the prescribed sidewalk risk-factor criteria. This option has no impact to taxes.

Option 2– Expand Scope of City Maintained Sidewalks
An additional 400+ km of sidewalk is added to the City’s existing maintenance program. Priority I & II sidewalks are maintained to bare walk through plowing and salt application. Priority III sidewalks are maintained to compacted surface through plowing. This option requires a tax increase.

Option 3 – Sidewalk Snow Removal through a “Good Neighbour” Bylaw
This would require private property owners with sidewalks fronting or abutting their property to clear snow and ice from these sidewalks within 24 hours of a snow event. City-Maintained sidewalks (1/3 of City) will need to be revisited based on a set of criteria for this level of service (arterial roads, commercial frontage, park frontage, flankages, etc.). It is likely that only a small number of locations would be eliminated. Ongoing growth of the City will contribute to minor expansion of City-cleared locations following the established criteria for this service. Where property owners are noncompliant and do not shovel their sidewalk in the prescribed period of time, cost-recovery will be in place for contracted snow-clearing. This option has no impact to taxes.

Option 4 – Sidewalk Snow Removal Bylaw with Supportive Assistance
This is the same as Option 3, but with the addition of a Supportive Financial Assistance program for seniors and disabled persons meeting an income threshold to have their sidewalks cleared. An annual application process would be implemented for supported sidewalk snow-clearing to be completed. This option has a minor impact to taxes.

While the survey is now closed, residents are encouraged to take a moment to review the information available on this page. If you have any questions related to the above, or to discuss this topic please contact Marianne Tikky, Manager of Roadways/Parks, Municipal Works Department.


Have your say!

This engagement has concluded. Thank you for your participation!

Please note that information will be collected in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. With the exception of personal information, please note all comments will become part of the public record.

Consultation has concluded.