Vancouver needs to get its act together when it comes to winter weather preparedness

Megan Orr, Opinions Editor

I say this as someone who is completely biased because I am from Alberta and have survived many a truly harsh winter, but holy crap Vancouver, get your shit together. From car crashes to snow days, and the absolutely atrocious act of using an umbrella in the snow, you basically are like foreigners to this weather. This isn’t the individual’s fault – you are all just a symptom of a bigger problem: the municipalities remain underprepared for winter weather.

Imagine if every other Canadian city ground to a halt every time it snowed more than a few centimetres? Nothing would ever get done! We need more plows and salters out on roads and perhaps even clearer regulations about driving in inclement conditions. Drivers who don’t have the proper tires or experience should be held responsible for their poor driving. Along this same vein, public transportation should in theory be far more reliable when it snows. Drivers should be trained to drive in bad weather and buses should be equipped with proper tires, though Translink claims that winter tires and chains aren’t reasonable or feasible, which roughly translates into it just not being a priority.

This year saw streets getting salted and plowed much quicker than in previous years when the snow took Vancouver by surprise, but that was only with predicted snowfalls. When the flurries were a bit more of a surprise, commuters found themselves slogging through slush at a snail’s pace while the idiots sped past. Main streets are cleared relatively quickly, but side streets take hours, or even days, if they even get cleared at all.

As Twitter user @ElaineCarol3 put it, “Snows 5-10 cms & #Vancouver comes to a halt bc of a culture of denial in dealing with #snow & ice removal especially on side streets. Winter is here, weather patterns have changed @kennedystewart #VancouverCityCouncil. People need to get to work, children should be in school.”

I’ve had more snow days living in Vancouver than I’ve ever had in my entire life in Alberta. There was only one instance in Calgary where I had a snow day and it was when there was an unpredicted snowfall in early autumn, and more than a metre of heavy packed snow appeared overnight. Even this snow day was debated, since Calgarians have gotten used to these winter weather conditions. Although Vancouver’s terrain varies can be far more treacherous with its steep hills than flat Calgary’s, it doesn’t give the municipalities the excuse to be unprepared. Winter has come, time to buck up Vancouver!

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