With unusual temperature drops and snowfall in recent weeks, some UBC Acadia Park residents expressed concern that their residence and surrounding areas weren’t prioritized for snow and ice removal.
While UBC Building Operations is responsible for snow removal at Acadia Park, Acadia Park laneways are not included in priority roads and sidewalks for snow removal and ice prevention.
Instead, residents were “offered a shovel and salt” when they notified UBC about their concerns, according to Estefanía Milla-Moreno, a PhD candidate in the faculty of forestry and Acadia Park resident.
“Residents took it upon themselves to break two-inch-thick ice and clear walkways for residents. This was a tedious task that could have been avoided with a proper winter plan,” she said in an email interview.
Despite their efforts, Milla-Moreno said that residents and service providers experienced “dozens of falls” and at least one injury requiring time off work. A child-friendly residence and home to several tenants with mobility issues, those who rely on strollers, wheelchairs and crutches for transportation were particularly impacted.
“The ice increased the possibility of an accident,” Milla-Moreno said.
She added that the Acadia Park Residents Association (APRA) board is drafting a letter to UBC to create a plan to remove ice and snow in the future. The APRA did not respond to requests for comment.
Milla-Moreno and other residents tweeted photos of the icy landscapes that surrounded their residences.
Slippery (& dangerous)walk to daycare today (as previous weeks) at .@UBC family housing. Specially challenging for members with reduced mobility. We knocked some doors but it seems that we are not considered bc we were not a priority in their ice removal plan. SOS @UBCFixMySpace pic.twitter.com/WZuPrsAVY6— Estefanía Milla-Moreno (@ea_mimo) January 7, 2022
Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs for UBC Media Relations, asked for Acadia Park residents' understanding. In a written statement to The Ubyssey, he said that UBC crews have worked “extremely hard to clear snow from university properties.”
On top of the extreme weather, snow removal crews faced additional staffing pressures, due both to staff taking time off for the holidays and high COVID-19 cases, he added.
“Many of our crew members have worked through the holidays on this, missing time with their loved ones,” Ramsey said.