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Vancouverites could always tell if a vehicle was from out-of-town due to the salt and gritty exteriors of those cars in the winter. Well, that whole paradigm has changed with Vancouver having a winter wonderland twice in late December and with a repeat performance being scheduled handily for the weekend.

Motorists, cyclists and pedestrian commuters have all had their shares of thrills and spills, including the television station that always films cars unfortunate enough to try to go northbound on Oak Street between Broadway and 6th Avenues. Apparently BMWs  fifteen years ago  consisted of a lot of rear wheel drive vehicles. Apparently everyone that has a rear wheel drive forgets this fact until they get to this hill.

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So why use salt on sidewalks and roads? While water normally freezes at 0 degrees centigrade, that threshold drops once you add salt, allowing everyone to move around a bit easier. With City Hall back to work after the annual holiday closure,  the fire halls were pressed into service to provide-salt to eager Vancouver residents trying to make the sidewalks and roads in front of their residences a bit more walkable. And there were line ups around fire halls for salt, and even a pile of salt that was allegedly “stolen”-but I expect it has gone to good use on someone’s city sidewalk or roadway. “BYOB” in this case means “Bring Your Own (salt) Bucket”. Originally you were allowed to take two buckets of salt, but demand is now limiting Vancouverites to one free bucket per visit.

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The City of Vancouver is now working with their 2017 year budget and quickly got to work deploying staff to remind residents that they have to clean off the walk in front of their properties. While all the Metro Vancouver municipalities require this action, when you need to do it by and what the consequences are if you don’t do it differ.  CKNW has created a handy interactive map so you can view the regulations for your metro community.

Vancouver also has a “Snow Angel” program that matches  those that can’t shovel out with someone who can. Enjoy the weather, watch your step, and remember Spring is a mere ten weeks away.

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