Snow clearing crews work ’round the clock

First major snowfalls of the season cleaned up in Central Island

As the Island dealt with its first significant snowfall of the year, City of Parksville officials say they are doing their best to keep local roads clear and safe.

The challenges facing road crews don’t always directly relate to snow. It seems some residents get quite angry when they find a snowplow has temporarily blocked the end of their driveway.

“We’ve had someone come out with a shovel at 4 a.m. and threaten to hit the driver with it,” said Parksville operations foreman Stewart Whitworth. “But how do you not plow over someone’s driveway?”

Generally, people are appreciative of the work city crews do in the winter, said Whitworth. He said city staff prepare for the winter months with specific training, but the quick switch in road conditions can be a challenge.

“They (city workers) were mowing the lawns a week ago,” said Whitworth, who was at work at 2 a.m. Wednesday to co-ordinate clearing efforts as the second snowfall of the week was in progress.

Parksville Mayor Chris Burger, who has had to deal with much more snow near his Dashwood home compared to his the area around his Parksville office, said Wednesday this first weather event of the season “isn’t too bad yet. It hasn’t overwhelmed us.”

Burger also said residents here generally like to follow the rules and perhaps put themselves in danger as they try their best to keep the sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses cleared. Burger had a safety-related message for those ultra-law-abiding citizens and their neighbours.

“If you don’t feel physically capable to do it, we don’t want anyone going out there and having a heart attack,” said Burger. “And if you can lend a hand (to your neighbour), please do.”

The City of Parksville attaches plows on the front and blades underneath two gravel trucks for winter snow-clearing duty. They also utilize two one-tonne trucks with plows attached. All four vehicles have salt-spreading capabilities.

The forecast (see calls for rain and 6-7 C temperatures for Friday and Saturday, with a break in the pattern and some sun on Sunday. About 15 centimetres (four inches) of white, wet stuff fell on our region between Sunday night and Thursday, playing a role in some road mishaps and causing the closure of some businesses and institutions, including Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo on Wednesday (it re-opened Thursday).



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