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Agassiz residents feeling snowed in
About a foot of snow covered the Fraser Valley on Sunday, causing multiple traffic accidents and closing schools across the region on Monday.
The heavy snowfall also put forward a challenge to the District of Kent as they set out to remove the snow from local roads. But their methods didn't sit well with some residents who felt they got snowed in twice — once by Mother Nature, and then again by work crews.
While the District of Kent will sometimes plow snow to the middle of the road, this snowfall they made the decision to plow to the side.
"Thanks for piling a load of snow across my driveway so that I couldn't even park in it without shoveling first," Vicky Sparks said. She wondered why a plow operator would make the decision to cover up long stretches of driveways.
Mick Thiessen, director of engineering services for the District of Kent, said the decision was made based on weather forecasts available at the time.
"Based on the weather reports we received, we made a decision to put out to the curbs," he said, adding that Agassiz received more snow than was forecasted when they began plowing. "The main reason we move the snow to the centre is if we feel there would be drainage issues."
When the ground is wet and soft as it is right now, melting snow and rain can move under the snow cover toward the storm drains. Moving the snow to the centre is always not popular either, as it blocks residents from turning left into driveways.
"We get concerns either way," Thiessen said.
Other residents were concerned that snow wasn't being removed from sidewalks, including District owned sidewalks.
Thiessen said crews have worked to remove as much snow as possible, keeping budgetary concerns in check.
"The size of the crew you would have to bring in to do the sidewalks and driveways for everyone, would be huge," he said. "We want to try to open it up to pedestrians as soon as possible, but we do ask for the public's help for sidewalks in front of public property."
It's in times of heavy snowfall when people really need to help out their neighbours, and shovel sidewalks and driveways for those who cannot do it for themselves.
"We do see some of that going on, but we'd like to see more of it," he said.
While keeping your business or home sidewalk clear from snow is regulated in a bylaw, Thiessen said fines are complaint driven.
As for highway road cleaning, including Hwy. 9, that is the responsibility of the Dept. of Transportation.
"They push it onto the sidewalks and it has to be shoveled," Thiessen said. "I have seen that a couple residents have removed the snow and made an effort to make a pathway for pedestrians. We hope more residents will become aware that it really is their responsibility."