Vancouver Islanders face a freezing blast of arctic air

Lots of vehicles are still buried in the snow after two storms hit parts of Vancouver Island last week, but now it’s the bitter cold that everyone is talking about and worrying about.

It’s so cold that even the seawater in Comox Marina is frozen

“I’m just checking to see if, in fact, the boat is still floating,” Fred McLean said at the Comox Marina on Monday. “We’ve obviously had snow in the past, but we go down and clean it up, and then it usually heats up pretty quickly, but I’ve never seen the marina frozen over to this point.”

The most vulnerable on the island find the freezing temperatures difficult to bear.

Community groups and churches like St. George’s in Courtenay served hot meals and drinks to dozens of street people on Monday.

“We provide food to the people who really need it and these people come and they are really grateful so it’s worth it,” said Joan McGrath of the St. Vincent de Paul Society who feeds the people in St. George’s on Monday.

Temperatures that remained well below freezing on Vancouver Island on Monday are also causing significant plumbing problems for some.

Frozen and burst pipes are causing companies like Citywide Plumbing in Langford to jump with calls every 10 or 15 minutes.

“Oh, they’re just freaked out because there’s no hot or cold water flowing and I think they’re just happy that we’re answering the phone,” said Shawn Waters of Citywide.

He says a few simple things can prevent big problems.

“Leaving a faucet running, maybe in your tub, even a trickle of water will help, as the moving water won’t freeze as quickly,” Waters said. “Leaving your cabinet doors open in your home where there are pipes under the counter or sink will help, as the ambient air inside will help keep the pipes warmer. “

Waters also suggests purchasing bib covers to place on outdoor faucets to protect them from cold winds.

Mainroad North Island road crews were out again Monday to clean the roads and apply brine or sand to the slippery sections.

“We use sand for traction because you get to a point where you have packed snow in some areas, so we’re just maintaining the traction on that,” said Chris Cowley, Mainroad North director of operations. Island. “With the colder temperatures, we get a rare taste of what the rest of Canada is facing. “

Private contractors were also busy clearing parking lots across Vancouver Island.

“Yes, snow is like a little extra money during the winter when we can’t dig holes and lay sod or put up retaining walls, so that’s an added bonus,” Jamie Rennison said, owner of Tippin Point Contracting in Merville.

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