Winter Operations & Snow Clearing


Strategic Snow Clearing and Prioritizing

Western has a strategic approach to winter operations and snow clearing on campus. The plan comes from consultation with stakeholders including Western Special Constable Services, Centre for Students with Disabilities, contractors, Landscape Services, and Building Services.

Facilities Management's (FM) Landscape Service team manages the program, using both in-house operators and equipment, as well as contracted operators and equipment.

Each snow and adverse weather event is unique, requiring crews to act quickly and often be on campus for extended periods of time. The FM team and contractors are clearing a city within a city, including;

  • Roughly 16kms of roadway
  • More than 32kms of walkway
  • 90+ buildings with multiple entrances
  • More than 7,000 parking spaces
  • More daily traffic than Port Colborne (pop. 13,000)
  • Nearly 9,000 pedestrian crossings at high traffic intersections (similar to downtown Toronto pedestrian rates)

To keep vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians flowing smoothly, snow clearing requires a strategic approach. Lots, streets, sidewalks, and building entrances are prioritized based on several factors:

  • Roadways - Frequency of use by commuters and bus traffic.
  • Pedestrian Areas - Building primary entrances are served first, as well as, barrier-free entrances, ramps, and sidewalks based on use.
  • The Weather - The volume and duration of snowfall can have a significant impact. During weather events, primary entrances and most heavily used roads and sidewalks may be cleared multiple times prior to secondary routes. The campus community is encouraged to stick to primary routes during these occasions.

The temporarily restricted walkway along the northwest side of Support Services BuildingIt is common for Facilities Management to restrict areas of campus during the winter season. These signed and roped-off areas may present hazards to the campus community during icy conditions and/or be used to gather excessive accumulations of snow.

Please Be Safe

Please take your time and travel carefully when crossing campus. Our team is committed to providing unbarred accessibility to our services and facilities and the safest conditions possible. Like a snowflake, no snow event is the same and each one presents unique circumstances. As efficient as our team and contractors are, getting ahead of the snow and ice that continues to form is challenging.

During the winter, it is recommended that pedestrians plan their route and wear appropriate footwear when on campus. Studded tires on bicycles can help with slippery conditions. Motorists are encouraged to be patient and travel with caution.

Report Hazardous Conditions

During snow events, the campus community is encouraged to identify areas in which conditions have made travel hazardous. Staff, faculty, students, and visitors can report to FM Client Service team either by calling, 519-661-3304 or via email,

Inclement weather and class cancellations

In the event of inclement winter weather such as snow, a decision may be made to cancel classes and curtail non-essential services. Students, faculty, and staff will be notified via email. For more information, visit: Please follow Western’s main social channels for timely weather updates.

Thank you for supporting our efforts!