Sunday, December 14, 2008

It snows and the city freezes

It always amazes me how unprepared Victoria is for snow. People lack snow shovels, cold weather clothes, snow tires and the basic understanding of what snow means.

The weather forecast had been clear for days that we would be getting snow and that it was going to cold for a number of days after the snow. We know the snow is not going to melt in 24 hours and this means we will be dealing with the white stuff for days.

I was not all surprised to get my Times Colonist at lunch instead of first thing in the morning. The TC was prepared for the snow - they were not taking complaints.

Snow does happen here most years here, the cities should be better prepared. I am amazed in Saanich at how bad the road conditions were on major roads this afternoon. The corner of Blanshard and Saanich Road did not look like it had been plowed. Neither Saanich nor Victoria had done any sanding of side roads. These snow events are predictable - they do occur on an almost annual basis. The cities should keep their snow removal budget in a roleover fund - if it is not used in one year, it is there in the next. The city should have more snow removal equiment available. It does not take a lot to adapt your basic 3/4 ton works truck into a small snowplow, these could easily deal with the side roads.

We are required to shovel the sidewalks in front of our house, I had this done in the morning, most people in the neighbourhood have not yet shoveled their sidewalks. When does the city enforce this? Tomorrow? The snow is making many of the sidewalks all but useless for people to walk on. The city had an ad in the TC saying it was a requirement for people to shovel the sidewalks, but what is the point if it is no enforced? I saw condos that did not shovel the sidewalks.

I always marvel at the speeds some people drive through the streets when their is snow on them. The temperatures are too close to freezing for anyone to be sure what the road beneath their wheels will be like. There is no way to be certain if you can stop and these people racing down the streets are running unreasonably high risks of accidents. Even if you have good snow tires and a four wheel drive, you are still not going to be able to stop if you have to.

What amazes the most about people in Victoria is that so many people here come from somewhere else in Canada and should know how to deal with snow for their home and on the roads, but somehow people get some sort of a geographically weather amenisia after they move to the island.
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