It’s back, and it’s piling up in my front yard again

It’s back, and it’s piling up in my front yard again

Now I can’t even see the street without going outside

By Allan Hewitson

It is a subject that has become a perennial during Kitimat winters – maybe a little less in recent winters. However, January and February this year have brought it back into sharp focus – snow, and lots of it.

Does the District of Kitimat have a plan for snow clearing? Yes, of course they do and it has worked very well ever since I can remember. In fact, I have never seen it done better elsewhere!

That said, however, ever since I can also remember I have always felt that that very first really good dump of snow always gets blown on to my front yard.

The first two will hit my yard, the third will be dumped across the street, the fourth and fifth again dumped onto my yard.

It’s not true of course – it’s just easy to perceive it being that way – so it hasn’t really played with my head in our recent lower snowfall winters.

But it is back with a bang – now I can’t even see the street without going outside and looking from the driveway.

It was also brought back into sharper focus after spotting a Facebook post from my next door neighbour, who works in camp and is away from home for days at a time.

He posted that his children told him on the phone that the snow was so high in the front yard they could touch utility wires. He was shocked.

In days gone by that was a constant warning from parents to children playing in the snow-blown piles – “Stay away from overhead lines.”

It sounds as if one of James’s younger boys (he has five) touched an overhead line.

Fortunately, it was either a telephone line or not an energized line, so there was no damage done.

I checked – the energized lines are only about four or five feet higher than the phone lines.

Nevertheless, as I type my column on Wednesday, we are in the process of getting another 12 to 15 inches of snow in a forecast series of new storms – so the blowers will be around adding to the piles.

I hope the District of Kitimat will use its capability to message the community about these dangerous overhead lines before we have a tragedy.

We already lost virtually all communications with the outside world for one night after the Telus’ internet supply cable was taken down by a falling tree on the night of February 3.

Many people were relieved to find service restored on Sunday in time for the big Super Bowl game.

Frequently, on my year-round trips to Terrace, I renew my main complaint – trees growing around telephone and other communications lines on the road to Terrace.

I know the Telus people have been working on the worst-affected areas but I really feel a major effort should go into this.

As we start to see trees heavily bent over by heavy snow and ice from freezing rain, I would like to see an effort to have someone from the district’s engineering offices take the time to survey dangerous trees around town, like the huge deciduous tree just down the street from me which, quite literally, grows right across the road.

It’s outermost branches hang over the lawn of the home across the road.

If it’s safe – OK – but I’d sure like to have it and numerous other trees around town checked out.

And for good measure, while I am on the subject, if we can look forward to political meddling from the Green Party in Victoria with LNG development in Kitimat, we better start getting a grip on our so-called tourist trade in summer.

One thing I would like to see is so much of the tree and brush vegetation on our river bank reduced so that travellers can enjoy the views of our river valley and mountains and other scenic elements while en route to and from town.

The more areas of our river that become blocked from view by overgrown brush and scrub bushes, the less attractive our town becomes.

Then, get a better handle on the uncontrolled summer and fall riverbank camping.

I hope the reviews of the near tragedy during the fall flooding have at least alerted our city legal reps to some kind of awareness of the liability issues they would have faced as a result of deaths in the flooding.

I am not overly enthused about the proposed Minette Bay West Concept Plan, while our local camping issue remains unsolved.

However, I would be comforted to see the extension of the existing Radley Park campsite become designated Radley Park camping overflow on the other side of the river.

Just setting that in place would go a long way to solving that annual nuisance problem on the river banks. I do get frosted when I see empty Radley Park camping sites and $200,000 motorhomes squeezed into makeshift unpaid camping sites near the pump houses and all along to the hatchery. I see this as negligence by council.

These are my bleats and complaints for today – now it’s time to go out and start to clear our rapidly rising snow piles on the driveway and front steps.

We are nearing mid-February and hopefully can expect some rain to help reduce the piles over the next week or two.