Robert Barron column: Thanks to municipal workers during snow storm

I’ve always wondered how anything gets done when mounds of snow fall from the sky.

I’ve always wondered how anything gets done when mounds of snow fall from the sky.

The Cowichan Valley saw more than 40 centimetres of snow fall in just a few days, blocking roads and driveways and shutting down businesses and schools.

I don’t know if you would call it a blizzard in the classic sense of the word, as blizzards typically also involve high winds and drifting snow, but the slowly falling snow certainly had the same effect in the end.

In a column last week, I commented on how lucky we are to live on Vancouver Island and pretty much avoid the winter weather extremes experienced by other Canadian provinces.

I stand corrected.

Apparently, (and maybe it’s due to climate change which everyone is talking about) we can have big winter blow-outs here just like our fellow Canadians experience on a regular basis at this time of year.

Piles of snow that came as quickly and in such abundance as we saw earlier this week certainly impeded our regular everyday living.

The simple task of driving to work or the supermarket becomes an ordeal of digging your car and driveway out and then having to deal with what can be treacherous roadways before getting to your destination.

I think we should give a good round of applause to all of our municipal workers who worked around the clock in the effort to keep roads cleared and opened during the storms.

Their work is vital to allow medical, fire and police officials to respond to emergencies during weather events, and it appears that they have done a good job.

It’s the second time in just two months that we have had to depend on emergency workers to come to our assistance after a major storm. The massive windstorm just before Christmas knocked out power to much the Island for days.

Hundreds of BC Hydro crew members sacrificed their Christmases to saw through downed trees and power poles in nasty weather in their efforts to restore power, and they had most of the power back on before the Christmas season ended.

We’re lucky to have such dedicated people working on our behalf.

Of course there were the obvious and expected complains from a number of residents that their streets and roads were not cleared promptly after all the snow fell earlier this week.

But people have to take into consideration that this is not Winnipeg (affectionately known to its citizens as “Winter-peg”) or Toronto where they have huge snow budgets and equipment to deal with their long and harsh winters.

Local governments are spending your taxpayer money and most want to do that as conservatively as possible. It just doesn’t make sense to buy millions of dollars worth of snow-clearing equipment in an area that might see just one significant snow event per year.

That means that for 99.9 per cent of the time, these expensive machines would sit rusting in maintenance yards while spending on more important purchases in a municipality has to be put on a back burner.

Our municipal workers worked hard with the equipment they had during this snow event, and we should be thankful for them.

Let’s just hope we return to our regular rain showers soon.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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