Winter onslaught causes complaints, stalls services
Sunday's final dump of heavy snow led to chaos on the roads and for kids trying to find the sidewalks as they returned to school.
Despite this, Vancouver has already spent double its snow-clearing budget dealing with the storms of recent weeks.
But with side streets a mess, commuting and walking a danger, many are still upset with the way it has been handled.
Vancouver's mayor Gregor Robertson said the city was stuck using the limited amount of equipment it already possessed.
"Well, we focused on where we could do the work with the equipment that we had," he said.
But he admitted there was room for improvement.
Vancouver councillor Suzanne Anton was not impressed.
"We can tolerate mess for a while, but we've had three weeks of mess and there are people who are stuck in these houses," she said.
Murray Wrightman, co-ordinating the crews for the city, had a change in weather patterns to contend with.
"We've got at least another week coming. If we can get through the rain when it comes to the side streets and the garbage... but we're doing the best we can," he said.
Surrey recreation centre roof collapses
The roof over the swimming pool at the Glencoe Estates Recreation Centre in Surrey collapsed Monday morning under the weight of snow.
Pool Supervisor Michelle Vallee was just opening up when she heard a crack.
"I looked through my office windows into the pool, and at the roof's peak, there were 2x4s that were broken and hanging in front of the windows," she said.
She called the property manager, locked the door to the pool and grabbed her boots and ran outside. The entire roof came down seconds later, scattering debris all over her and the property manager who had come to check on the building.
"I could feel the glass blow out, I could see the glass blow against her back. I yelled at her to get out of the way and dove into the snow," she said.
It appears the pool's flat roof just couldn't hold the heavy, wet snow.
Treacherous sidewalks for seniors
Seniors, the disabled, postal workers, and garbage collectors all have one thing in common -- they've been unable to get out and about since the start of the snowy winter weather in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley in December.
Many seniors and disabled people have been under virtual house arrest -- unable or unwilling to risk the slippery roads and sidewalks, many of which have not been cleared for weeks.
Seonaid Christopherson is reluctant to venture out of her South Granville apartment. It is something the 64-year-old hasn't done very often since the winter onslaught began. Her anxiety in trying to navigate Vancouver's snow laden sidewalks and side streets is huge.
"It is a terrible situation to be in when even the thought of leaving your apartment leaves you anxious and full of fear," she said.
"I'm worried about slipping, falling and breaking a bone. And I'm very lucky, that hasn't happened to me so far, but I'm sure there are people out there that have had a lot of injuries."
Another senior who was stuck in her home for a week because she couldn't get around the piles of snow in Vancouver is disgusted that the city hasn't done a better job clearing the streets.
Sixty-eight-year-old Florence Corbett says she was finally able to get out Monday morning after her landlord arranged for someone to give her a ride to a bus stop so she could get to the bank to pay her rent -- five days late.
But Corbett, who suffers from emphysema and uses a scooter, says a snow bank was so impassable that she fell when she got off the bus.
Shelley Houston, program director of the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities, says others have also been shut indoors for days and unable to get groceries because of the snow.
Houston says the only social contact many disabled people have is when they're doing their regular errands such as getting a loaf of bread.
Houston says she is considering speaking to city officials about providing resources for people who become isolated during massive snowfalls.
Some service providers are also unable to do their jobs.
Postal carrier Ron Swirid in South Granville says the snow has hugely impacted his getting to homes, with the unclean streets and sidewalks in many areas making it just too dangerous to deliver the mail.
"I have 72 houses on my walk and I have only been able to get to eight of them in the past week," said Swirid.
And garbage pick-up has also suffered, the west side of Vancouver in particular.
"It leaves people in a terrible state and the city ... the government is doing nothing about it," said Christopherson.
Murray Wrightman of the City of Vancouver agreed that it had been a long four weeks for everyone.
"I understand what people are talking about when it comes to their side streets and garbage and that but we're doing the best we can," he said.
With reports for CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart, Leah Hendry and St. John Alexander, and a file from The Canadian Press