Snow Angels sought as winter approaches

Coquitlam organizing volunteers to clear sidewalks for seniors and others with physical challenges

It may be warm now, but statistically Coquitlam is due for a snowfall this winter and when it does, the city wants to be ready.

That’s why it’s asking volunteers to come forward to participate in Snow Angels, a program that matches people willing to shovel sidewalks with seniors and others with mobility challenges who need the help.

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Currently, 46 people are in need of shoveling assistance and the city wants to get a list of volunteers willing to shovel snow at one or two homes in their area.

Those who participate should be reasonably fit and will get a shovel and a Snow Angel scarf and hat.

The idea is to clear sidewalks after a snow fall, which is a requirement of the city’s boulevard maintenance bylaw.

The Snow Angels service is available to Coquitlam residents who are 65 years of age or older or have a physical disability, and are unable to clear the snow from their adjacent city sidewalk. 

It may be hard work, but it’s all part of seasonal fun for Nick Cirillo, who was a Snow Angel last year and signed up again this year.

He said being a Snow Angel is a gratifying experience because people appreciate getting their walks cleared.

“Just knowing you are helping someone who can’t do it, is a huge factor,” Cirillo told The Tri-City News.

Cirillo, a 2011 Dr. Charles Best grad who recently got a job as a firefighter in Richmond, said he cleared sidewalks for several elderly people last winter. He said he was happy to clear their walkways because he knew it made it easier for them to get around.

Snow angels are only required to clear city sidewalks — not private walkaways and driveways — from one to two assigned homes. 

Shoveling must be complete within 10 hours after the end of every snowfall.  

Snow Angels have the choice of working alone or with others, but all participants must complete the application process, take part in an orientation session (with shoveling training) and provide reference and criminal record checks. 

Volunteers are needed throughout Coquitlam. To start the process, visit www.coquitlam.ca/snowangels. And even if you can’t commit your time to being a Snow Angel, please be a good neighbour and help out those on your street who may have mobility concerns. This may include shoveling snow, garbage set-out and other physical tasks. The program can also be reached through the hotline at 604-927-6922 or communityservices@coquitlam.ca. 

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