Ice prevention & snow removal

When extreme weather comes to UBC Vancouver, UBC Building Operations is responsible for managing snow and ice on the Vancouver campus. The roads of the UBC Endowment Lands, including Southwest Marine Drive from 41st to 16th ave and Chancellor Blvd from Westbrook Mall to Alma are managed by Mainroad under contract with the Provincial Government of BC.

The weather at UBC can be unpredictable—as UBC has it’s own micro climate which can be quite different from lower lying areas. We monitor custom weather feeds to get accurate predictions of what’s coming and work hard to make the campus as safe as possible as soon as possible. In extreme weather situations, updates on campus conditions, classes or exams are available on ubc.ca. We continue to improve our forecasting information and upgrade our equipment to ensure that we can be cost effective and timely with our response to weather events.

If you see any slick or slippery areas that need our attention right away, give us a call at 604.822.2173.

Snow Plow Priorities

UBC Point Grey Campus snow plow priorities (Click for full size PDF)

Ice prevention and removal

Building Operations’ fleet of deicing vehicles work on constant call to treat all campus roads and walkways; as needed, when needed.

Campus roadways

Salt and brine are applied to ensure ice can be managed appropriately to minimize our environmental impact. We brine in cold weather on dry, frosty, or wet roads.

Campus walkways

Building Operations custodial staff work in concert with our municipal services staff to clear ice and salt the main access to campus buildings, stairs, and their own external work areas such as loading docks. Typically we can only maintain the main building entrance (an apron of about 8-10 feet from the main doors), so be careful if you have a secret shortcut. UBC works hard to maintain accessibility in extreme conditions, but if you have special accessibility needs please make your best assessment of the conditions before venturing across campus.

In University Neighbourhood Association (UNA) areas

The UNA contracts with UBC Building Operations to clear the main UNA roads of snow. The UNA also clears certain pathways through their own contractor. As in the city of Vancouver at large, each UNA strata is responsible for deicing the sidewalks abutting their properties.

The roads of the UBC Endowment Lands, including Southwest Marine Drive from 41st to 16th ave and Chancellor Blvd from Westbrook Mall to Alma are managed by Mainroad under contract with the Provincial Government of BC.

Snow removal

Campus roadways

Building Operations’ fleet of snow removal and deicing vehicles start early in the morning to plow and treat as many roads as possible before the first students, faculty, and staff arrive. We start plowing anytime day or night— and we’re often here at 3 am, plowing by 3:30 to make sure the campus is ready when you arrive.

We can only plow when there is at least 2” of snow… so we have to let it accumulate before we begin. We work in priority order to ensure the highest risk areas of campus are open first—places like the bus loop, hospital, day-cares, and arterial roads. We then move onto major pedestrian routes and academic areas, followed by the other campus roads. We salt after plowing to keep ice at bay and will often sand roads after salting to help keep traction.

When weather is extreme, we also work with campus administration to minimize disruption and get the news out to all campus users about high-risks or closures. Please be safe around our equipment when it’s working and dress well for winter conditions.

Campus walkways

Building Operations municipal services staff and their fleet of smaller snow removal and deicing vehicles work to clear main walkways and access-ways on campus. Because of the size of campus, only main walkways will be cleared and often only a small access path can be maintained for the duration of the snowy weather.

In University Neighbourhood Association (UNA) areas

The UNA contracts with UBC Building Operations to clear the main UNA roads of snow. The UNA also clears certain pathways through their own contractor. As in the city of Vancouver at large, each UNA strata is responsible for snow removal of the sidewalks abutting their properties.

While The roads of the UBC Endowment Lands, including Southwest Marine Drive from 41st to 16th ave and Chancellor Blvd from Westbrook Mall to Alma are managed by Mainroad under contract with the Provincial Government of BC., both UBC, individual stratas, and home owners remain responsible for the sidewalks which abut their properties.