British Columbia

Vancouver snow priorities won't change as another cold snap set to hit

With more frigid temperatures on the horizon, officials from the City of Vancouver say they will continue their current "scalable" response to snow and cold weather.

Temperatures expected to drop below freezing Monday night

City officials and ICBC addressed the media Monday about cold weather response in Vancouver. (Tristan Le Rudulier/CBC)

The City of Vancouver says in the face of this week's expected freezing temperatures, its priorities will remain the same.

Temperatures are expected to drop below zero once again Monday night and engineering services general manager Jerry Dobrovolny says going forward, the city will continue to deploy the same "scalable" response as conditions change.

"Our priorities won't change," he said. "We will continue to scale up as required by the weather conditions. I can't give you a number of staff or pieces of equipment [that will be deployed] because it is dependent on the weather."

"We're continuing to salt arterial roadways … our bus routes, truck routes, continue to be in good shape."

Dobrovolny says he is "quite pleased with the overall response … there are areas of the city that require additional treatment and we're responding to those requests."

In terms of enforcement, he says so far, over 9,000 warnings issues and several hundred tickets have been handed out and prosecutions started.

"Our goal is behaviour change and it's not punishment," he said. "We want to work with residents … largely that's been very successful."

He says demand for salt has tapered off especially as stores have restocked it.

He says the city has good salt supplies for the coming weather and trucks are "constantly" leaving works yards.

Homeless outreach workers out 'day and night'

Ethel Whitty, the city's director of homelessness services, says the city's three emergency weather shelters have been well-used, and outreach workers are out "day and night" to inform homeless people of their options.

She says the Creekside and Britannia community centres are seeing about 14 people spending the night each night, and in the West End Community Centre, it's about 10 a night.

There are more people coming and going, she said, with Britannia seeing about 150 people throughout the day.

Responding to concerns about a needle reportedly being found at Creekside by a parent, Whitty says parents should be vigilant, but drug use at community centres, all throughout the year, does happen.

"People have been asked to leave the centre if they're going to be doing that but can come back when they're not under the influence," she said.

Fire safety, road safety

Also at the news conference, Fire Chief John McKearney reiterated the importance of space heater safety in cold temperatures and also the need to ensure smoke alarms are working.

He says if any residents want to test smoke detectors, fire officials are willing to pay them a visit.

ICBC spokesman Sam Corea said auto claims for the early part of January are actually down from the same time last year, but in December, claims were up 16 percent.

"We do tell folks that when you do see less than ideal driving conditions, you have to adjust your driving behaviour," he said, advising drivers slow down, leave more time to get to their destinations, allow longer distances between other vehicles when driving and to look out for pedestrians.

"Winter is not over… so don't be complacent," he said.