Ice covered Nanaimo sidewalks causing falls and frustrations


WATCH: Nanaimo is filling salt trucks and preparing plows ahead of another snowfall that is expected on Wednesday, even as people there continue to dig out from the 15 to 30 centimetres of snow that fell on the city Sunday. An extended cold snap in the region means the snow that fell is all still on the ground and covering sidewalks, leading to frustration and causing dangerous conditions for pedestrians.

Peter Humeniuk chose his steps carefully walking along an ice-covered Nanaimo sidewalk Tuesday.

“It’s dangerous,” said Humeniuk.

It was one of many city sidewalks still covered in ice and snow two days after a storm dumped as much as 30 centimetres on the mid-Island city.

“It’s slippery,” said Humeniuk. “People get fined for not cleaning their sidewalk and yet they don’t.”

Some pedestrians were even forced to walk on the road to avoid falls on the snow-packed sides of streets where sidewalks and shoulders are buried.

“The time it kind of chokes me is when it’s been here for a couple of days and nobody’s down anything about it and that’s where we are now,”  Canada Post carrier Tyler Popplestone said.

Popplestone said he has fallen several times now and calls it is frustrating that despite businesses and residents facing a potential $75 fine in Nanaimo for failing to clear sidewalks next to their properties, so many are still covered. The snow-covered sidewalks put people like him at risk.

“Unless the city comes out and starts fining people then nobody’s going to do anything,” said Popplestone.

The City of Nanaimo says it just doesn’t have enough bylaw officers to do patrols concerning snow-covered sidewalks. For now, the city is counting on people to call them about dangerous sidewalks and doing the right thing by clearing their own.

In the past, the snow falls in this typically mild-weather city and melts pretty quickly, but not this time. With a cold snap in place, all the snow that fell over the weekend has remained and more is on the way. Now road salt is being stocked up and snow plows are being prepared for another blitz of winter.

“And now we’re getting ready for, we’re calling for some more flurries this week and then potentially maybe another dump by the weekend,” said David Myles, manager of roads and traffic services for the City of Nanaimo. “It’s a long way out yet but we’ll wait and see how the week progresses.”

Humeniuk is urging residents to get out there with shovels and snowblowers and help their neighbours who can’t.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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