The Facilities' Grounds team maintains the large University of Ottawa campus year round, keeping it pleasant and safe for its community. Maintenance operations include: landscaping and groundskeeping, rigorous control of tree health, snow removal and repair of roads, sidewalks and other traffic areas. We handle waste management and outdoor recycling, as well as installation and maintenance of site furniture (benches, tables, ashtrays, bike racks, etc.).
Snow removal on University campuses is a substantial operation due to the size of the area and the population density. It includes clearing of roads, parking lots, sidewalks, terraces, doorways, stairwells, access ramps for the mobility impaired, fire hydrants and more. Our goal is to offer a cleared campus as of 7 a.m. However, since weather conditions are out of our control and unpredictable, we sometimes have to settle for secure but not perfect conditions until precipitation ends. To keep to our standards, snow removal in different locations is performed by category priority. See snow removal priority categories
Procedures in the event of precipitation
Streets and parking lots
Due to the campus population density, using heavy machinery for snow removal during the day would be a safety hazard. We have the bare minimum of equipment needed to clear entrances, parking lots and loading docks. Streets are plowed by trucks as efficiently as possible, piling the snow in designated areas. A loader is also on site if needed. This operation is undertaken jointly with the sidewalks crews, to limit snow banks to a minimum. These vehicles are on campus as long as the precipitation lasts. Complete snow clearing occurs at night.
During the first night of precipitation, snow is piled in designated areas. The following night, the crew brings the snow to our Power Plant melter. This operation may take up to three nights.
When temperatures are at -10°C or below, snow does not compress under tires and becomes slippery. Normally, we don't have to apply abrasives in these conditions.
When the temperature is between 0°C and -10°C, snow has a higher water content and compresses into ice under tires and pedestrians' feet and we must continually apply abrasives to minimize ice formation.
Sidewalks and buildings
Two crews are deployed on the main campus to shovel all Category 1 locations. Compact tractors and plow trucks take care of sidewalks, walkways, terraces and public areas, such as the Campus Transitway Station. Workers are usually on location as of 4 a.m. A third crew takes on the evening shift between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. to service the residences and buildings with classrooms.
Typically, when precipitation ends early enough, all Category 1 locations should be clear of snow by the end of the first day of the snow removal. Should precipitations continue, workers return to clear the same locations, until precipitations stops. Category 2 and 3 locations are then cleared, which may take up to 48 hours until completion.
To report any problem related to a public area of the University, contact the Call Centre at 613-562-5800 ext. 2222.
If stairs, sidewalks or access ramps seem dangerous, do not use them. Call ext. 2222 (leave a message of there's no answer) or Protection Services at ext. 5499 (24 hour service).