What a difference 24 hours can make. This was Sidney’s Beacon Park just before noon Wednesday following record snow fall (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Saanich Peninsula digs out from underneath record snow fall

Local crews now worried about flooding and water breaks

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.

“Currently all streets, parking lots and walkways have been plowed and salted,” he said Thursday morning. “Staff are now concentrating on widening roadways and clearing pedestrian crossings and exposing drains as the thaw begins.”

RELATED: Black ice causing problems for motorists, pedestrians

RELATED: Saanich child struck, pinned under SUV while sledding

RELATED: Victoria snowfall breaks 49-year-old record; wind warnings in effect

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.

“We are also very thankful for our volunteer firefighters, who took time away from their families for respond to calls during the storm,” said Meghan Mason, communications manager with the District of North Saanich. “Both of the District’s fire halls were fully operational for 48 hours in order to respond as needed, and the majority of these shifts were filled by volunteers.”

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.

Higher temperatures will likely render this reminder unnecessary for the foreseeable future, but other dangers loom.

“As temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing over the next few days and with wind chill, black ice and slippery conditions can develop very quickly, flooding may also occur,” said Robinson. “Staff will continue to monitor weather and road conditions as usual and react accordingly. Potential for water main breaks are also a possibility with these types of weather conditions and staff are prepared to react as needed.”

In other words, more weather-related troubles might be in store, but that was likely not on the minds of the many Deep Cove Elementary kids, who used the remaining snow Thursday for one last, final, thrilling ride down a bank on the school’s field as a final farewell to the weather that was.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alyssa Gerwing, executive director of the Sidney Museum and Archives, gets into the Halloween spirit with a lit-up jack-o-lantern. With Treat Street cancelled, the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society has organized a series of other events and activities under the heading of Halloween Spooktacular. (Wolfgang Depner/News Staff)
Sidney serves up ghoulish spills and thrills during Halloween

A virtual Halloween treasure hunt and scary drive-in movies among tricks and treats

Samantha Lenz, resort manager for Oceanside RV Resort, says she continues to turn people away, who are looking for a permanent spot to winter on the Saanich Peninsula. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Tourism operators hope Canadian Snowbirds flock to B.C.

Provincial tourism industry hopes to compensate ‘monumental financial losses and hardship’

The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)
One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

$2 a year too steep, CRD committee recommends $1 a year increase per household

Patrol officers from VicPD’s Esquimalt division responded to a call about hateful graffiti in Macaulay Park Wednesday evening. (Black Press Media file photo)
Anti-Semitic, hate-based graffiti found in Esquimalt park

Police seek suspects after fresh hate-based graffiti found Wednesday evening

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Most Read