Pedestrians struggle to navigate icy sidewalks after snow, rain
After the snow, and after the rain, it’s now the ice causing headaches for Halifax residents.
Recent heavy rains and mild temperatures, following a snow-filled February, led to ice-covered streets and sidewalks when temperatures dropped again.
The head of Halifax’s winter operations said the condition of the city’s sidewalks is the worst in decades.
“I certainly sympathize with all the residents out there, and especially the pedestrians that are trying to get around in what are arguably probably the most challenging conditions we've see in the last 20 years,” said Darrin Natolino, whose snow-clearing crews have been battling conditions for weeks.
With the ice as think as it now is, Natolino said salt is less effective, so his workers are focusing on laying down traction sand.
He said his department was expecting a delivery of 1,000 tonnes of sand on Monday.
Even with the supplies, he said, Halifax will need a change in weather before an improvement is seen — and the forecast for the week ahead promises only a continuation of this winter’s wild ride.
“Until Mother Nature gives us a break and really melts off a lot of snow and ice and gives us time to actually remove a bunch of it, it'll be an ongoing struggle,” Natolino said.
The struggle is real for residents like Vernon Welton, who was out on Monday battling ice build-up in his driveway.
Winter-weary already, Welton said the latest challenge he’s had to face is flooding in his basement over the weekend.
“It’s really wore thin over the last six weeks — you’re getting so tired,” said Welton.
The impact is being felt all over the city, such as at the Sackville Sports Stadium, which reopened on Monday — except for its ice rink, because the facility’s rooftop vents are frozen over.
Pre-school teacher Michelle Swanson said the daycare she operates has had to adjust its plans as well.
“We haven't been able to go to the playground because it’s just too icy for them to climb around,” Swanson said.
“For a while we were doing walks but, it’s gotten so bad that we can't even do that.”
Pedestrians like Luke Manthorne have been faced with new obstacles in their walks around the city.
“You have to walk up along on the side like in a lot of places — it’s just really dangerous, really slippery, a lot of ice, a lot of puddles,” he said.
The danger can have real consequences: Capital Health is reporting more visits to its emergency department due to slips and falls.
By mid-morning on Monday, seven of the 85 patients in the emergency department were there for that reason.
Doctors there are seeing injuries like concussions, wrist and ankle injuries, and back and shoulder injuries, a spokesperson said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jacqueline Foster