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West Vancouver recruiting volunteer Snow Angels

Every time the snow falls, an angel gets his shovel. The District of West Vancouver has launched a volunteer Snow Angels program to help seniors and people with mobility challenges clear the snow and ice from their walks.
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A North Vancouver residents clears their sidewalk after a winter 2020 dump of snow. West Vancouver is looking to create a volunteer Snow Angel program.

Every time the snow falls, an angel gets his shovel.

The District of West Vancouver has launched a volunteer Snow Angels program to help seniors and people with mobility challenges clear the snow and ice from their walks.

Ambleside lawyer Karen Choi was inspired to join up after hearing about the Snow Angels at work in Vancouver where her parents live.

“I love being out in the snow. We get so little of it here in Vancouver, I appreciate it when we get it,” she said. “It's a wonderful way to connect to people in your community and give back.”

Under West Vancouver’s bylaw, property owners must have the snow and ice cleared from their sidewalks within 24 hours, although it is rarely enforced. But, beyond the legal obligation, Choi said it’s important to keep the sidewalks clear to make sure seniors or people with mobility challenges can safely get out for shopping and appointments, or to have deliveries dropped off safely.

 “Not everyone necessarily has the ability to hire a company or an individual or have family or friends that can help them,” she said.

The volunteers will be co-ordinated by the West Vancouver Seniors Activity Centre, which will match volunteer Snow Angels with residents in need anytime more than two centimetres of snow accumulates.

“They have such a wonderful infrastructure already where they have constant communication with seniors in the community to find what types of services they need. And so this is just another offering,” Choi said.

Choi’s two sons, 13 and 15, are already signed up with her, she said.

“I wanted to do it with my boy to get them outside, first of all, and to recognize that there are people in our neighbourhood that could benefit from a helping hand,” she said.

To sign up for the program, either as volunteer or someone who shouldn’t be attempting to clear the white menace on their own, contact the district at snowangels@westvancouver.ca or call 604-925-7288.