Snow on Saanich Peninsula has closed down Viking Air, manufacturer of the Twin Otter 400 Series aircraft. One business official estimates Sunday’s snowstorm could cost the local economy millions (Black Press File)

Economic impact of a snow day could be millions, say business leaders

State of infrastructure also under scrutiny across Greater Victoria

Sunday’s snowstorm will cost the local economy millions, while raising questions about the lack of social infrastructure for working parents.

Denny Warner, executive director of the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said the aftermath of Sunday’s snowstorm could end up costing the economy on the Saanich Peninsula about $2.5 million based on available figures and estimates.

According to the best available figures, some 2,500 people work in the industrial area of the Saanich Peninsula, generating close $1 billion in revenues each year, said Warner. This means about $2.5 million in lost revenue for each day of lost productivity if Sunday’s storm impacted all industrial businesses, he said.

While Warner said it is not clear how many of the 2,500 workers actually missed work Monday, at least 400 workers working at Viking Air Limited, Sidney-based aerospace space manufacturer with branches across western Canada, did not come to work Monday. It — like some many other businesses large and small — closed its doors Monday, because staff could not make it work because of the snow that fell Sunday.

While Warner is not sure how many others would have followed Viking Air, many of the many large employers will have make the same call, with another round of snow forecasted.

“Even if they could get to work today, with the snow projected to fall in the afternoon, they couldn’t guarantee people could get home safely,” she said.

RELATED: Police continue to advise Greater Victoria drivers to avoid travel unless necessary

RELATED: Snow day for students in Greater Victoria; another storm to come

RELATED: All buses may be late today, according to BC Transit

Monday’s closures are not just impacting the bottom lines of businesses but also the personal pocket books of employees.

“I am not sure what other company’s policies would be about snow days, but the employees at Viking will not be paid for today,” said Warner.

Overall, Warner expects the impact to be significant, partly because many 0f the small businesses in the region, rely on staff from elsewhere.

“It will impact the retail stores in downtown Sidney, because they rely on staff who commute often from Victoria,” he said. While transit buses are running in Victoria, they are not on most routes on the Peninsula, he said.

Catherine Holt, chief executive officer of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, encouraged everyone to be patient today.

“Commuting will take a little longer, though many workers in Victoria’s public sector and technology sectors are fortunate to have the option of working from home,” she said.

This said, Sunday’s snow storm has also drawn attention to the need for more social infrastructure. With schools closed across the region, working parents have been left scrambling to look for alternatives.

“An event like this week’s snowfall really shows how much pressure our region’s workforce is under and why we need more child care spaces as well as improved transportation options,” she said.

Just Posted

Saanich brings Uptown-Douglas Corridor draft plan to the public

Feedback from residents will help finalize the plan

Truck involved in Malahat crash had no insurance

Driver faces charges of driving without due care and attention, no insurance for Monday’s crash

Greater Victoria could see a months worth of rain within a week this fall

Weather Network predicts wet, warm fall season for B.C.

B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

Provincial population could reach almost seven million in 2043, but Alberta is growing faster

Some 5,000 residents on the Saanich Peninsula have signed up for alert system

Sidney hosts Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Exhibition Friday

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Kamloops high school evacuated after receiving threat

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Woman held at gunpoint during carjacking in UBC parkade

University RCMP say the vehicle is still missing, and two suspects are at large

VIDEO: Angry B.C. cyclist starts shaming dangerous drivers online

‘You motorists deserve all your costs and misery’

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Most Read