As Canadians, living with the cold is part of our identity. When viewed under a microscope, Canadian DNA is actually made up of tiny snowflakes and icicles.
We often don’t get a lot of snow in the Fraser Valley usually, but when we do it’s big news.
On Monday, snow coated the streets of the Lower Mainland. Temperatures plummeted. Motor vehicle incidents were so common, responders couldn’t keep up. It was chaos.
But the snow didn’t stop – it kept coming through to Wednesday. School was cancelled, many services were curtailed, even the Prime Minister’s trip to visit Premier John Horgan was cancelled. The Ministry of Transportation put out a notice Wednesday urging residents to avoid travel unless it was essential.
When Lower Mainland residents comment on snow and cold, the rest of Canada returns a chilled laugh. “But our cold is worse because it’s a ‘wet cold.’” Other Canadians will say they’d take the ‘wet cold’ over -40 C any day.
Although snow and cold on the west coast is less severe than the rest of the country, it still creates dangerous situations. The west coast has something that much of Canada does not: elevation changes, and steep roads. On top of that, the west coast has a higher likelihood of drivers unequipped for winter weather. All drivers should have winter tires, or snow-certified all-season tires, but we all know someone who still has summer tires on.
The west coast also deals with a lack of snow clearing infrastructure. In 2020, the City of Saskatoon had a snow removal budget of $14 million. The City of Vancouver has a total budget of just over $7 million. Snow removal budgets for west coast municipalities are increasing after years of significant snowfall. Still, many municipalities have snow removal priorities and residents in low priority areas can be stuck in their homes.
Snow and cold is something all Canadians deal with. We all love to play it in, complain about it, and hate to drive in it. Regardless of what kind of snow and cold Canadians experience, what’s important is that we all stay safe, and make sure we’re properly equipped to deal with it – while it lasts.
– Black Press Media