When extreme weather comes to UBC Vancouver, Municipal Services in Building Operations is responsible for managing snow and ice within the Vancouver campus. The roads around UBC (Marine Drive), approaching UBC (University Boulevard from Wesbrook Mall to Blanca Street) and West 16th Avenue from Blanca Street to Marine Drive are maintained by The Mainroad Group under contract with the Provincial Government of BC.
The weather at UBC can be unpredictable—as UBC has its own micro climate which can be quite different from lower lying areas. Custom weather feeds are monitored to get accurate predictions of what’s coming and how we need to respond in order to make the campus as safe as possible, as soon as possible.
Priorities for ice prevention and snow removal
The Municipal Services team provides ice prevention and snow removal services with the full complement of staff during regular working hours. To ensure a safe campus, Facilities also works outside of regular working hours, with a reduced crew and scope of work. The map above identifies priority roads, sidewalks and pathways that our crews will work towards when dealing with an ice or snow event. Once the priority routes are cleared, crews will focus on clearing other areas of campus. In an extreme winter weather event, it is suggested that you stick to the routes which have been identified on the map above in order to get where you need to go on campus safely and without incident.
Please visit ubc.ca for updates during major snowfalls or ice events.
If you see any areas that need our attention, please contact the Service Centre at 604-822-2173.
Ice prevention and removal
Municipal Services’ fleet of deicing vehicles work on constant call to treat campus priority roads, sidewalks and pathways; as needed, when needed.
Salt and brine are applied to ensure ice can be managed appropriately to minimize our environmental impact. To ensure effectiveness, we typically brine roads during dry cold weather. The brine dries on the road surface and provides early snow melting capabilities.
Campus sidewalks and pathways
The Custodial Services team work in concert with our Municipal Services team to clear ice and salt the main access to campus buildings, stairs, and external work areas such as loading docks. Priority is focused on main building and accessible entranceways (an apron of about 20 feet from the main doors), so please use main entranceways during extreme weather and be careful if you have a secret shortcut.
Our crews also brine priority sidewalks and pathways during dry cold weather to manage ice formation. 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.
Municipal Services’ 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 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 sidewalks and pathways
Building Operations municipal services staff and their fleet of smaller snow removal and deicing vehicles work to clear main sidewalks and pathways on campus. Because of the size of campus, the focus is to clear priority sidewalks and pathways. Often only a small access path can be maintained for the duration of the snowy weather.
University Neighbourhood Association & University Endowment Lands areas
The University Neighbourhood Association (UNA) and University Endowment Lands (UEL) contracts with UBC Facilities to clear the main UNA and UEL roads of snow. The UNA also clears certain pathways through their own contractor. As with the City of Vancouver, each UNA strata, UEL strata/property owner is responsible for clearing and deicing the sidewalks abutting their properties.
- Marine Drive from W 41st to East Mall
- W 16th from Southwest Marine Drive to Blanca
- University Boulevard from Wesbrook Mall to Blanca
- Chancellor Blvd from East Mall to Blanca
For tips to help you stay upright during the winter season, visit UBC’s Emergency Preparedness website.
For information on UBC’s winter weather protocols for faculty and staff, visit Human Resources.