Would-be snow wardens are being promised insurance cover in a bid to encourage volunteers to help clear pavements.
Aberdeenshire Council is seeking to recruit teams of local residents prepared to be on standby to keep routes clear when winter sets in.
They are promised a shovel, high-visibility vest, spikes, hat, gloves and salt as well as full “snow code” training.
But the authority has found fears of legal action are putting people off volunteering.
Now under new proposals, the council’s own liability insurance would be extended to volunteers – so long as they carry out the duties by the book.
Councillors warned however that the wording of the proposed code – which tells volunteers its “unlikely you’ll be sued or held responsible” – would put off more people and should be made more positive.
And one member of the Kincardineshire and Mearns area committee – Councillor Wendy Agnew – said people would be “angry that we are asking volunteers to do the council’s own work”.
The meeting also heard fresh warnings that young pupils were being put in danger by cuts to council pavement gritting.
Under changes due to come into force this winter, several areas will no longer qualify for priority treatment each time there is a frost.
Newtonhill, Newmachar, Inverbervie, Portsoy, Torphins, Aberchirder, Echt, Dunecht, Auchenblae and Fordoun will get no gritting at all unless the freezing weather is forecast to last more than 48 hours.
As part of the shift towards busier urban areas, communities such as Portlethen, Macduff and Laurencekirk will also suffer cuts.
Councillor Dave Stewart said the move was “dangerous for kids” navigating the steep hill to and from Auchenblae school and concerns were also raised about safety at Newtonhill primary.
Roads manager Bill Lennox defended the changes, which he said were about ensuring as many people as possible benefited from the stretched service – which was cut by £1million last year.
Routes to secondary schools were a higher priority because “a lot of primary pupils get transport to school”, he said.
Councillors said the new formula failed to consider important safety considerations.
“Common sense needs to be at the heart of this rather than bare statistics,” Councillor George Carr said.