Island Health is reporting an increase in emergency room visits since the snow started to fall earlier this week and as Skye Ryan reports locals say the situation is especially bad in Nanaimo.

Seventy-nine-year-old Patricia South braved oncoming traffic Saturday, to escape the deep snow covered Nanaimo sidewalks that have kept her snowed in for days now.

“Yeah I got tired of staying inside,” said the Nanaimo resident.

“It’s hard to get through all the snow with the walker.”

Across the city, Brandon Davis encountered the same dangerous commute but walking along busy Bowen Road, he forced himself to stay on the sidewalk, despite the dangers of falling.

“It’s just challenging getting across different areas right now,” said Davis, who relies on a cane to walk.

Despite a city bylaw demanding property owners remove the snow on sidewalks around their homes and businesses, huge swaths of sidewalk remain covered. Davis is one of many who is worried someone is going to get hurt.

“It’s not getting done and its just making it challenging for everyone else around here,” said Davis.

“People are walking on the roads instead of the sidewalks,” said Nanaimo resident Randy Sampson.

“So they should do the sidewalks at the same time they do the roads,” said Sampson.

“Yeah we need lots of manpower,” said volunteer Joon Cho, who spent hours Saturday shovelling out around the Nanaimo Native Victory Church.

“Lots of hands to clean all the snow out there,” he said.

“This is the best time to come out and work together right. This is for the community,” said Cho.

Nanaimo Bylaws couldn’t be reached to answer whether any tickets for failure to remove snow have been issued.

Yet with several more days of cold overnight temperatures ahead, there will no doubt will be complaints if officials don’t enforce action soon.

Skye Ryan