Glistening sun Thursday morning turned many parts of the Saanich Peninsula into a slushy, slippery pastiche of puddles, piled up snow banks and slick roads after record snowfall and strong winds battered the region.
Perhaps the most symbolic sign of Sidney digging out from underneath the snow that had blanketed the region Tuesday night, Wednesday morning was the line up for doughnuts inside Sidney Bakery early Thursday morning. The store, like so many businesses in the region, closed its doors Wednesday after up to 30 centimetres of snow had fallen. These closures, coupled with the closure of public offices including municipal hall and various transport-related cancellations, swept Sidney’s Beacon Avenue of most pedestrians and gave the rest of downtown a quiet, almost eerie feeling Wednesday. (North Saanich’s municipal hall closed as well, while Central Saanich rescheduled its Saanichton Village Design Plan open house).
This feeling became more ominous several hours later as winds whipped the Saanich Peninsula, causing power outages in Saanichton and Brentwood, as well as brief interruptions in parts of Sidney. Sidney municipal crews, meanwhile, could be seeing plowing the roads well into the late hours Wednesday, having been on the road around the clock since 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to Brian Robinson, Sidney’s manager of public works and parks.
North Saanich crews also worked in shifts to keep all six of the District’s plows in operation for 24 hours beginning on Tuesday evening. Residents also did their part.
Thursday morning broke with many heading back to work and schools re-opening after being closed Wednesday. But warm temperatures overnight had withered away snow accumulations, leaving behind thin, but dangerous sheets of ice and piles of slush that gave the morning commute an extra edge of difficulty.
Central Saanich Police Thursday morning responded to an incident near the intersection of Island View Road and Patricia Bay Highway, after a vehicle had gone into a ditch, while Sidney/North Saanich RCMP could be seen handing out tickets to a commuter near Deep Cove Elementary School.
Overall, emergency services were kept busy during the last 48 hours, often at great personal sacrifice.
In some cases, some forethought would have prevented the use of precious public resources, as it was the case in Central Saanich, where the driver of an SUV attempted to tow a friend’s vehicle that was stuck in the snow. But the vehicle being towed crashed into another vehicle that was parked in front of the owner’s residence. “Central Saanich Police would like to remind residents to call professional tow companies for support,” it said in release to the Peninsula News Review. Central Saanich also issued a reminder vehicles blocking traffic will be towed to ensure safety of others on the road.
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