Capital refuses to accept reality: it snows

Somehow, the capital still manages to be caught off guard by snow

Somehow, the capital still manages to be caught off guard by snow. Sure, it snowed last year and the year before. Sure, the weather reports warn us for days ahead of time. Sure, we spend a week or two before it snows huddled in dark corners and whispering through teeth clenched in terror: “Did you hear? It might snow!” Yet when the day finally arrives we still find a way to convince ourselves that this sort of thing just doesn’t happen to us.

While this behaviour is almost endearing in the general population, it loses its charm when our region’s administrators — charged, one would assume, with preparing for bigger emergencies than a few inches of snow — follow us into our tropical fantasy.

Where other Canadian cities deal with feet of snow before the morning rush hour, we struggle to clear major arteries before nightfall, let alone sidewalks and residential streets.

It’s not the annoyance of traffic but a look at the region’s most vulnerable citizens that reveals the deeper impact of our collective refusal to accept reality.

“This morning I found 51 men and women sleeping on our streets; many of them without even a blanket covering them,” says Reverend Al Tysick, who spent a cold morning last week checking up on members of the street community who, for various reasons, were unable to find a place to wait out the snow indoors.

While there are emergency spaces available out of the downtown area for those who don’t make it into a regular shelter bed, Tysick says people still fall through the cracks.

“Up until this year we’d always opened up an extra place downtown, mainly for the most weak and vulnerable people out there who cannot get down to the Salvation Army to meet the van [for a ride to the shelter].”

Upon deeper examination, what presents itself as a humorous diversion or a mild annoyance hints at a disconnect between the actions of our local government and the needs of the region. When 380,000 people are rendered helpess in the face of flaked ice, it’s clear that the priorities of local polticians and their administrators must shift away from The Next Big Thing and move to address the practical realities of life in the capital. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Saanich author Hannalora Leavitt hopes her new book, This Disability Experience, helps to dispel the ‘otherness’ that often surrounds people with disabilities. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Vancouver Island author demystifying disability and dismantling otherness

Hannalora Leavitt, who lives with a visual impairment, wants to change how people look at disability

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

Most Read