Schools and parks were shut down and driving proved troublesome for some in the Oceanside region of Parksville and Qualicum Beach as residents woke up to the largest snowfall they’d seen in a while Thursday.
The hill at the end of Lantzille road may not be that steep but with the snow and ice, it became a headache for a fuel truck driver Thursday morning.
It took more than 30 minutes of adding chains to tires and salt to the road before the trucker managed to get rolling again, hoping for clear roads ahead.
Many people spent Thursday digging out for a swath of east Vancouver Island, from south of the Comox Valley to south of Ladysmith.
It was an unwelcome awakening for many.
Parksville resident Eric Schmidt said it’s the biggest snowstorm he’s seen in his 12 years in the city.
“It was 13 inches I measured on the driveway,” he said.
“They said it doesn’t snow here and that’s why I moved here,” said Wayne McCorkell, another Parksville resident who moved from Ontario one year ago. “I was used to it there but this was a rude awakening.”
For many drivers, the roads were slow going Thursday.
Some vehicles were still lodged in ditches from when the snow was falling last night.
The highways contractor had all hands on deck.
“We’re sanding, salting trying to break up any compact, peeling it off the roads and trying to get the roads back to the bare and black road surface,” said Stefan Yancey, the Operations Manager for Mainroad Group Mid-Island.
Mainroad has brought extra equipment and people from other areas not hit such as the Alberni Valley but says it will still take some time.
“We always recommend that if it’s not an essential trip you should stay home but if you do have to drive make sure your vehicle is equipped with proper winter tires and you have some safety equipment in the vehicle,” said Yancey.
The snow shut down schools from Nanoose Bay to Qualicum Beach, the first snow day of the school year in School District 69, which was just fine with these students.
“There is a lot of snow. It’s very fun but then again my shoes are filled with sogging wet socks,” said Smith Thompson, a student.
Parksville Community Park was closed to vehicle traffic for much of the day while city crews focussed on clearing snow from roads first.
While sledders enjoyed the hills some raved about the spectacular snowy beachscape.
“It’s lovely. I love the snow. I’m Swiss so bring it on. The more the better,” said Tanja Kervan.
In December the region got snow but in that event Nanaimo and North Cowichan got brunt of the blast of winter.