15 December 2016

Keep Safe on the Roads this Winter

 10 Tips for Safe Winter Driving from The Cooperators  
(while these good folks are my insurers--this is in no way meant to be an endorsement or a solicitation for business)

If you’ve driven in even one Canadian winter, you know that it takes patience, practice and mindfulness to stay safe on slick roads.

Your safety is important to us. Keep these safe winter driving techniques top of mind – and share them with your family and friends.

1. Invest in winter tires.

Winter tires are worth the investment. Put them on before it snows, and before the temperature drops below 7°C. Also, ensure tires are inflated properly; cold weather can decrease tire pressure.

2. Plan ahead.

Plan for five extra minutes pre-trip to check road conditions and remove all snow and ice from your vehicle.

3. Slow down.

It’s common sense that’s often overlooked: adjust your speed according to road conditions.

4. Stock up on windshield washer fluid.

When you need it most – 50 km from home in a white-out blizzard – you'll be glad to have an extra jug.

5. Leave the lights on.

To increase visibility, keep your headlights on, even during the day. Not sure if you need them? Err on the side of caution.

6. Step lightly.

Maintain steady pressure on the gas pedal and brake gently to avoid slipping and sliding.

7. Exercise patience.

When you're running 10 minutes late and find yourself stuck behind a snowplow or salt truck, take a deep breath and do not pass.

8. Look twice before reversing.

Be aware of snow banks when backing up; not only could you hit one, but they make it hard to see oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

9. Avoid using cruise control.

Cruise control in wet, icy or snowy conditions isn't worth the risk.

10. Pack an emergency kit.

  • a bag of salt or non-clumping cat litter (for digging out)
  • a blanket
  • a flashlight
  • a shovel
  • an ice scraper/snow brush
  • jumper cables
  • matches
  • non-perishable food 

Don’t forget to always drive distraction-free, especially during the winter. Learn what The Co-operators is doing to encourage distraction-free driving – plus other initiatives that will help build a better world. Take the distraction-free driving pledge today.

14 December 2016

Snow Angels: a gift that keeps on giving

City of Vancouver
Information Bulletin
December 14, 2016
Thanks to the generous help of 29 Vancouver residents, more than 45 City blocks were cleared of snow between December 5 to 11 by volunteer Snow Angels who took the time to help seniors and people with limited mobility clean their sidewalks of snow and ice.
Before the recent snowfall, there were 16 registered Snow Angels with the City of Vancouver and that number nearly doubled to 29 following the first snowfall on December 5. The registration process is quick and easy and can be done via the City’s app VanConnect or by visiting the City website. Once registered, volunteers receive requests from our Snow Angel coordinator to clear snow and ice from neighbours' sidewalks.
All Vancouver property owners and occupants (tenants) are responsible to clear snow and ice from the full width of sidewalks that surround their property by 10 am the morning following a snowfall. This responsibility is in effect seven days a week. Property owners and occupants who fail to remove snow and ice may be subject to fines. Residents can also help keep storm drains clear of leaves and snow to prevent flooding.
Alternatively, those requiring assistance to clear their sidewalks can phone 3-1-1 and staff will connect you with a Snow Angel in your area. With temperatures currently below freezing, Snow Angels are using salt provided by the City to help clear sidewalks for seniors and people with limited mobility who have requested assistance. Between December 5 to 11, the City received 108 requests for help to clear sidewalks.    
A majority of the requests to become a Snow Angel or to receive assistance from a Snow Angel come through the City’s 3-1-1 Contact Centre. During the recent snow fall, the call centre received 1,540 snow and ice removal inquires alone. During the same period December 5 to 12 in the previous year, the City received five.
The 3-1-1 contact centre is well equipped to handle increased calls volumes from extreme weather events such as the recent snowfall. In preparation for increased calls related to snow, the centre brought in extra Customer Support Representatives on December 5.
The 3-1-1 Contact Centre is available from 7am to 10pm, 365 days a year and provides information on City of Vancouver services, including 175 language services. Callers do not need to speak English: (Just call and say, “Mandarin” or “Romanian” in your language of choice and after a short wait, callers are transferred to somebody who can speak that language).
Callers can receive information about City services, send service requests for non-emergency services, share concerns, and provide feedback. Alternatively. citizens can also use the City’s app VanConnect to access these services. The City launched its VanConnect app at the end of May 2015 and there have been almost 35,600  app downloads to date. Approximately 600 service requests per week are submitted via the app covering all areas of the City’s operations. 
Media Contact:
Corporate Communications

08 December 2016

New deal announced between Vancouver park board and community centre associations

05 December 2016

Information Bulletin: City continues snow mitigation, adds more trucks to fleet

City of Vancouver
Information Bulletin
December 5, 2016
City continues snow mitigation, adds more trucks to fleet
City of Vancouver crews continue to respond to snowfall. The City takes snow removal seriously and has a comprehensive snow response plan in place. Temperatures are expected to drop tonight to below freezing. The City is continuing to add salt to roads and sidewalks, but travelers are asked to be cautious and take their time.
At the beginning of the day, the City had:
·         Fourteen salters salting/plowing main routes.
·         Four salters salting/plowing priority hills.
·         Bombardiers clearing seawall paths and sidewalks. 
·         Four small units salting/brining priority bike routes.
·         Crews manually removing snow at bus shelters, gutters that lead to catch basins, and sidewalk let downs at intersections. 
In the afternoon, some hills throughout the city were closed to traffic, and additional resources were added, including:
·         15 additional salters, pulled from our street operations and sewer operation fleets.
The City plows priority routes. These include major roads, bus routes, bridges, emergency access routes, and the most used bike routes and walkways.
Crews worked late Saturday and on Sunday to salt and brine Vancouver's major routes in anticipation of predicted snow and freezing temperatures.
Vancouver property owners and occupants (tenants) are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks that surround their property by 10 a.m. the morning following a snowfall. This responsibility is in effect seven days a week. Property owners and occupants who fail to remove snow and ice may be subject to fines. Snow and ice on the sidewalk can be a barrier for many people, particularly seniors and people with mobility challenges. Residents are encouraged to lend a hand to those who are unable to shovel their own sidewalks by adopting their sidewalk.
Connect with us on the go, 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the VanConnect App. Use the app to report snow causing flooding, issues with transit shelter access, uncleared sidewalks, and any other street maintenance issues. Download the app at the AppStore, Google Play, or for Blackberry at vancouver.ca/vanconnect.
More information about how to prepare for winter weather is also available at vancouver.ca/snow.
Media contact:
Corporate Communications