Preparations to be made for the upcoming winter season
By Katie Czenczek, Staff Writer
New Westminster’s city council is currently planning to avoid a repeat of the events that occurred last winter.
According to an article in the New Westminster Record, the city council has decided to update their snow and ice response plan in order to be more prepared for possible snowfall and ice build-up. The updated plan transitioned from a two-point priority plan to a four-point priority plan, in hopes of clarifying which streets are the city’s top priority. It is worth nothing that priority two of the plan would include schools along hills and steep hills, such as Douglas College.
However, some are concerned that the plan fails to include pedestrian safety as there are no clear guidelines regarding sidewalks.
Patrick Johnstone, a New Westminster city councillor said in an interview with the New Westminster Record that although the updated plan is significantly better, it still fails to take into account pedestrian safety.
“If we as a city are unable to take care of the sidewalks, we need to do a better job of encouraging our residents to do it. I think a part of it is education. I think there are many people who don’t really think about clearing their sidewalk or even realize it’s their responsibility.”
Students who attended Douglas College last year recall the ice and snow build-up on 8th Street on Douglas’ hill and how dangerous it was for them to get to class.
Diana Tran, a student at Douglas during last year’s major snowfall said in an interview with the Other Press, “it was pretty terrible. I was actually working [at Douglas] during that snowfall as well, and it would be hard catching the morning bus, catching the morning SkyTrain, then having to walk up because it was so dangerous and it added even more time onto my commute.”
Adam Charlesworth, another student at Douglas College, however, said in an interview with the Other Press he felt as if the snow and ice conditions weren’t as bad as people made them out to be.
“I quite enjoyed it. Like, it’s a free chance to ski when you can’t go up to a mountain and gliding down the hills on ice made it a little adventure on the way down. It’s nice in wintertime, there’s no rain so you don’t have to be sad or upset about the fact that you’ll be soaking wet in school. You’ll show up and still have dry feet. As long as you’re prepared, all you have to do is be careful.”
When asked if he thought it was a waste of time to update the city’s snow and ice response plan, Charlesworth said, “No. You’ve got to make sure that the students are alright and that they can get to class on time. At the same time, if there is too much risk [to get to the campus] the only comment I would have is that [the school] would let it be known earlier that class is cancelled. So, if the communication aspect could be improved. Instead of announcing a cancelled class first thing in the morning, announce it the night before.”