Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow in our city

I have to say I am utterly unimpressed with how the major malls are dealing with the snow we have had for the last week. The pictures on here were taken at 3:30 pm December 21st - a full 20 hours after the snow had started to fall. You can see in them that it is clear that no effort was made overnight to clear the lot and that it had been left unattended to till late in the afternoon.

The Tillicum mall was a sheet of ice last week, bad enough that you could have used skates on it. We were at Mayfair mall on Wednesday evening and found the lot to a shear sheet of ice. Yesterday I passed by both malls and saw they had not done much to clear the snow even though the snow hard started at 5:30 the night before. Yesterday afternoon the parking lot was close to effectively unusable for parking as it was very difficult to get in or out.

I am told they have been sanding, but the volumes they are using are not enough to make any difference. Frankly they are leaving it so late to be dealing with the snow and ice that I suspect they are opening themselves up to lawsuits for customers and tenants. The volume of business in the malls has been incredibly low on the snow days, low enough that I am certain businesses are feeling it.

It also did not feel safe walking on the ice in the parking lots. I suspect there were a number of falls and I think there is a good case for people to sue the malls for not have bothered to make an serious effort to clear their lots.

All of this is in stark contrast to the work done at the small strip mall at Gorge and Tillicum. The lot was cleaned quickly and done well each time I came by there. Given that this small strip is not owned by a big company that offers the potential of big contracts, they should have been at a handicap in being able to get a contractor to come the site and clear the snow.

I lived for years in the interior and never experienced these sort of problems in mall parking lots. Aberdeen mall in Kamloops or Orchard Park in Kelowna were always quickly cleared overnight. They seemed to be able to do it even though they would collect less in rent than the big malls in Victoria. Mayfair mall apparently has the highest rents of any mall on Vancouver Island - I wonder what they put in their contracts to get out of the most basic efforts in snow removal?

If you think their efforts were less than reasonable, I urge you to contact Mayfair and Tillicum and let them know. I have done so.
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