- The Westshore
- Snowstorm shakes up the Westshore
Snowstorm shakes up the Westshore
Plus, water pipe grievances, Esquimalt dumpster fire, live music, and more
It’s hard to believe the amount of storms we’ve gotten in the past two weeks, as we face the aftermath of an extreme snowfall. On top of this, many people have been frustrated with water pipes leaking as the CRD encourages people to take preventative measures to lessen the possibility of damage. Read all about water pressure, the weather, and much more in today’s edition of the newsletter.
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Cold snap causing water woes on the Westshore
Freezing water pipes. Photo: Stock Image
A recent influx of arctic flow and katabatic winds across Vancouver Island has been wreaking havoc on the Westshore. High winds, snow, and ice—and ensuing incidents of frozen and leaking plumbing—have caused residents some serious headaches. Last Friday, the Prestige Oceanfront Resort in Sooke had to evacuate the premises at 3:30 in the morning, after a leak caused water to pour into the lobby through its ceiling.
Freezing pipes may be an ongoing and consistent concern for people along the Westshore in the years to come as climate change impacts weather patterns everywhere. According to climate scientists and Environment Canada, BC’s atmosphere and ocean climate have been changing faster than the global average. From 1900 to 2013, the average winter air temperature in the province increased by 2.2°C–as opposed to a global average of 1.9º put out by NASA–meaning that winter blasts of frigid air may become more persistent over time as they predict more “draw-down” of the phenomenon of “polar vortex” and arctic flow across the region in the future, which residents had a taste of this past week.
The implication of a future with inevitable cold snaps is that homeowners in the Westshore may need to consider better-insulated walls, windows and doors, as well as knowing that winterizing pipes may become a yearly must do.
Locals hunker down amidst snowstorm
Not even a week after the area faced severe damage from strong windstorms, Greater Victoria is braving snowstorms and freezing rain after Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning due to a low pressure system approaching from the west. The forecast predicted the Island to accumulate 10 to 20 cm of snowfall, and 20 to 30 cm for the mainland side; as of 10:45am on Jan. 17, around 15 cm of snow had already covered the Island.
It is rare for the coast to receive snowfall like this, but the shift is not a surprise after other provinces like Alberta faced weather in the -50 range last week. As the weather continues to predict precipitation throughout the week, Greater Victoria is facing the consequences of the impact of two storms.
Power outages have affected the area, as over 10,000 BC Hydro customers were left without power Wednesday morning, including Sooke which still had over 1,000 residents without power as of 11am. BC Hydro is working to fix any issues caused by snow or trees falling.
#BCStorm update: This heavy snow has caused some power outages in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. All available crews are working hard to restore power.
📞Report outages: 1 800 224 9376
📞Report fallen power lines: 9-1-1
📱Outage updates: ow.ly/zxbV50H1tnZ
— BC Hydro (@bchydro)
Jan 17, 2024
Along with power outages, a number of services are slowing down; the Capital Regional District’s recycling service was canceled for the day, as the CRD advised residents to hold onto recycling until the next scheduled collection. On top of this, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt announced that the Maritime Forces Pacific and all CFB Esquimalt properties would be closed to non-essential personnel.
Universities and schools
Despite other schools on the Island closing, Westshore students can expect to attend classes as long as it's safe. The Sooke School District (SD62) remained open on Wednesday, however SD62 sent out a notification to parents that buses would not be running.
“It is up to the parent/guardian to decide if they feel comfortable sending their child to school,” said the school district in a release. “We support and respect your decision; please take your time and drive with care [and] expect slippery conditions on roads and sidewalks.”
Royal Roads University also kept its doors open, but warned students to stay home if possible as many of the services and buildings would be unavailable to access.
Roads and transportation
In Greater Victoria, BC Transit delayed the start of service on multiple routes due to poor driving conditions and visibility, and advised commuters to double-check any changes or interruptions. Drive BC is also warning drivers to stay alert on the road, and to plan ahead by checking conditions, closures, and accidents.
It's important to stay safe and keep alert, as this is the second week the area has faced severe weather.
How do you stay up to date on weather information?
Around the 'Shore
🏡 Langford local struggles to find wheelchair-accessible housing: Tony Guss is struggling to find wheelchair-friendly housing after becoming an amputee due to the flesh-eating bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis. Guss, who currently struggles with diabetes on top of his amputation, has had a lot of difficulty finding housing as his daughter Brianne tries every option she can. Currently, the Langford man is unemployed and lives on BC Income Assistance, but now that he has a prosthetic leg he’s hoping to find part-time employment; Brianne has set up a GoFundMe as a last resort. [Vancouver Island Free Daily]
💧 Consultant says CRD water plan needs more work: A consulting engineer recently reported on a coalition of development industry groups, and stated that the $2-billion Capital Regional District water management plan will cause tension with taxpayers. The plan, which passed in August 2022, was created to meet water quality requirements from Island Health and to ensure proper supply for demand in longer and hotter summers—the consultant estimated the plant would drive half the planned 500% increase in costs to water customers. [Times Colonist]
🚒 Esquimalt firefighters put out dumpster fire in cold weather:Esquimalt firefighters are warning local residents to stay prepared for cold weather, as they responded to multiple incidents on Jan. 16 including weather-related alarm activations, a fire, and medical calls. The fire was found in a dumpster outside an apartment building on Lampson Street, and was put out shortly after responders arrived on scene.
🎯 Enhance your skills, stay current with career-focused training. Refresh your career with Continuing Studies at UVic.*
💃🏼 Hard Times Dance: Join in on the annual Sooke Lions Club Hard Times Dance this Jan. 20 at the Sooke Community Hall. Starting at 8pm and going until 12am, the event will have live music from the band Back Beat, a meal of hot dogs and beans, and plenty of room to dance. Make sure to get your tickets for $10 at Pharmasave, Forbes IDA, or the West Shack Auto soon, because they always sell out—dress code is casual or a hard times costume.
🎤 Live Coffee House: The Sooke Folk Music Society’s coffee house season is open to performers every third Saturday of the month, with each show going from 7 to 9pm. This Jan. 20, doors open at 6:30pm, open stage starts at 7 followed by the feature performance at 8:15pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, and free for open stage performers.
📝 Langford Community Plan Refresh: Looking to make some suggestions about the future of the community? Join Langford city staff and planning experts Brent Toderian and Todd Litman to discuss the challenges cities are facing like affordability, housing, climate change and better transportation. Starting at 6pm at the Langford Royal Canadian Legion on Jan. 23, you can reserve a spot for free.
🚢 The Musky is a bulk carrier built in 2014, sailing under the flag of Marshall Islands. It is coming from 🇵🇪 Matarani, Peru ➡ 🇨🇦 Vancouver and was scheduled to arrive Dec. 30, 2023.
"Evening Boat Tie" at the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club in Esquimalt. —Richard Steward, View Royal
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