Recent heavy snows in the Sayward area have people concerned about the weight on rooftops and people could be seen throughout the valley on Friday shovelling snow off their homes.
“It was cold at Christmas time and then it started and it hasn’t stopped,” said resident Nancy Critchley. “We’ve had probably about four feet (120cm) since then.”
Critchley was on the roof of an elderly neighbour’s house with others helping to clear his roof.
Some outbuildings in the area have already collapsed due to the snow.
At Miv Varalta’s Winter Wren Farm just off highway 19, pathways are carved into the deep snow.
She raises endangered Canadian heritage Ridley Bronze turkeys, whose pens have been destroyed by the snow.
“It’s been quite frightening at times,” said Varalta. “We’re hoping for a melt but it can’t be too quick of a melt otherwise we’re going to face flooding and that could be catastrophic considering how much snow we have on the ground.”
At the Sayward Valley Resort, they’ve already cleared the snow off trailers three times.
“This is the worst we’ve ever seen and from what old-timers are telling us back to the ’70s, that is the last time they had the amount of snow like this.”
Residents have also dealt with numerous power outages in the storms.
“The BC Hydro guys are doing great,” said Sayward Mayor Mark Baker. “They’re coming out and taking care of the problem however until BC Hydro starts clearing the trees around the highway so when a tree comes down it’s not hitting the lines it’s always going to be reactive as opposed to proactive.”
BC Hydro tells CHEK News it is increasing spending on vegetation management but that Vancouver Island has more trees per kilometre of power line than anywhere in North America.