Cobourg offers winter safety tips and regulations

By Cecilia Nasmith

As the snow and ice start to accumulate, the Town of Cobourg reminds residents of some important winter-safety tips – and regulations, including the bylaw regarding the removal of ice and snow from roofs and sidewalks.

  1. Shovel your sidewalks. Show friends, neighbours and family members you care about their comfort and safety by keeping the sidewalk in front of your home clear of snow and ice (Bylaw 081-2014 applies here).

  2. Be safe around snow ploughs, Drivers should stay three car lengths behind a snow plow to allow for a safe stopping distance, and never cut off one of these vehicles. Pedestrians and parents should always assume that the snow plough driver has not seen them – and accordingly, should move off the sidewalk and into a yard for greater visibility. Never play on or make forts or tunnels in road-side snowbanks.

  3. Keep gas meters clear. Although this outdoor meter is designed to withstand winter weather, heavy or hard-packed snow and ice can pose a safety hazard. Keep it from building up on and covering the meter.

  4. Make hydrants visible, Residents and snow-removal companies are reminded not to shovel or blow snow onto hydrants. The town extends its thanks to citizens who take the time to clear snow and ice from hydrants, providing quicker access in case of emergency.

  5. Clear snow and ice from fire escapes, exit doors and other emergency exit points to allow for safe evacuation in case of a fire emergency.

  6. Place garbage and recycling where it can clearly be seen and safely collected. Choose a collection area at a safe and visible ground-level location, such as the right side (as you face the street) at the end of your driveway. If you do not have a driveway, place it on the boulevard closest to the curb. If there is no boulevard, place it on the right side at the end of your walkway. Keep a path from the road to your collectibles clear of ice and snow in order to avoid injury to workers – and, in that connection, please remove bungee cords and other tie-downs from green bins and garbage cans set at curbside.

  7. Do not park overnight on town streets through March 31. This is provided for in Bylaw 080-2014 in order that streets are kept clear for snow ploughs to respond to winter weather event. You can be fined or towed for violating this bylaw.

  8. Businesses are asked to keep sidewalks clear of hazardous snow and ice. If your business fronts onto pubic sidewalks, it is your responsibility to remove snow and ice (including roof-top snow, ice and icicles that pose a pedestrian hazard). This must take place “as soon as is practicable but, in any event, not later than 24 hours after the end of the precipitation that caused the snow and ice.” Those who don't will be charged the cost for clearing, and could face a fine of up to $5,000. Please note that it is also illegal to move snow on to streets or sidewalks.

  9. Remove icicles hazardous to pedestrians. This applies to every building owner and occupant in town, and includes icicles hanging from the roof that pose an immediate danger to pedestrians. Those who fail to comply will be charged the cost of clearing the icicles and could face a $5,000 fine.

  10. Prevent water from freezing around electrical lines. Keep eavestroughs clear of debris so water can run safely away before it freezes. Ice can build up where overhead where electric wires attach to the home, posing a dangerous and costly situation. Bear in mind that the root of the problem may be poor attic insulation. Never attempt to clear ice from around electrical-service wires on your own.

For more information (or if you have any questions) contact the town's Legislative Services Department at 905-372-4301 or e-mail