Campbell River, Gold River see heavy snowfall leading to road challenges

CHEK News

The northern parts of Vancouver Island saw heavy snowfall during this past winter storm.

Campbell River resident Lewis Payne was shovelling out his driveway for the second time Thursday.

His wife took shovelling duties early in the morning but with snow accumulating again the 80-year-old decided to take a turn.

“It’s a little bit heavier than it was a few days ago. A few days ago it was nice and light and fluffy and it was quite easy but today it’s a little bit wet,” said Payne.

At the city, public works yard crews had to make sure their equipment was accessible from the falling snow before taking another shift on the roads. The city got up to 25 centimetres overnight as predicted by Environment Canada – adding to the 18 cm it has had so far this year.

“One of the challenges that we’ve had in this last snowfall overnight is there are lots of ridges of snow coming out of residential areas on the main roadways which people are getting stuck on but we’re trying to open those up as soon as we can,” said Drew Hadfield, City of Campbell River’s director of operations.

Officials say it’s been several years since seeing this much snow.

“It was about four years ago that we had 80 cm of snowfall in February and it seems to be a three to four-year cycle that this event seems to reoccur,” said Hadfield.

But Gold River is the community that appears to have seen the largest accumulation of snow.

“It’s just unbelievable. It’s just unbelievable,” said Brad Unger, Gold River’s mayor.

Unger estimates there have been more than four feet of snow during the past five days.

“I’ve been here since ’85,” Unger said. “’93, ’96 was a lot of snow but not like this.”

All the snow is challenging the village’s resources.

“There’s no place to put the snow. we’re piling it everywhere we can. Small village, we’ve had three people on 24/7 type of thing right now trying to keep up,” said Unger.

But Gold River’s mayor says the rain has begun hopefully allowing crews to catch up.

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