Port au Choix house buried in snow, owners worry about collapse

A Port au Choix, N.L., couple whose home is buried by a massive mound of snow is worried that the house will collapse at any minute.

Owners concerned dwelling may not survive weight of hard-packed snow

A Port au Choix, N.L., couple whose house is buried by a massive mound of snow is worried that it will collapse at any minute.

The home of Janice Gould and Rick Cooper is buried to the roof in snow that's packed in like concrete. The snow is currently about 2½ metres over the roof.

The couple had been away since November, visiting Gould's daughter in Alberta, and returned home on March 12.

Gould said that while they were gone, the town council cleared their driveway and moved the snow from the front of their house – until there was nowhere to put it.

"We came home March 12, slept for a couple of hours, got up that day and then cleared off the roof," Gould told CBC.

The next day there was a storm, and then another on the following day.

Gould said she's never seen this much snow.

We just want to save our home.- Janice Gould

"We're under a hill, and there's a hole there. We do get more snow than most people every winter, but I've never seen it like this. It's not just on the back, it's in front and on the sides — and a lot of the snow is from cleaning the roof off ever since we came home, and it was going on a week before we came home. It's a losing battle."

Port au Choix is about 280 km north of Corner Brook on Newfoundland's northwest shore. Gould said a lot can change there in a day, when it comes to weather.

"All it takes is 24 hours here of southwest winds, in a bad snowstorm like that, or a lot of winds. The Gulf of St. Lawrence is just behind our house and The Straits are just down from that." 

The town council has told Gould while they have a backhoe, which has been used, the snow is so hard they can't break it up.

Porch already collapsed

"If we could get an excavator to come in and break the snow up … if we had a dump truck in there. We just want to save our home.

"The roof of our porch has collapsed … it's only a matter of time when it [all] closes in now, and we're worried that it's going to happen any second. We're hoping that the government will give us some assistance you know, we're not asking for a fortune, we're asking for help. We think $2,000 or $3,000 would help solve the problems."

Gould and Cooper have been staying with a relative until the house is deemed safe to enter.

A photo of their house has been shared almost 2,000 times on CBC NL's Facebook page.