Central Saanich’s normal snowfall is often referred to as “a 72 hour winter”. Generally it starts snowing in the early evening and has stopped by morning. Accumulations of snow can vary from 2 to 6 inches or more on occasions. Rain usually follows the snowfall within a few days. There are exceptions where temperatures can drop after the original snowfall and the snow remains for longer. This seems to be happening more often with the global climate changes. On such occasions, despite the best efforts of a highly motivated crew, conditions can deteriorate and roads can become treacherous.
Motorists are advised to practice defensive driving, use good snow tires and exercise caution at all times.
Road Safety & Clearing
Our Public Works Roads department monitors changing winter road conditions during regular hours of work looking for hazardous conditions.
Sanding/salting and snow plowing operations are generally completed in the following manner:
- First Priority: Emergency routes, public transit routes, arterial routes, major collectors, school roadways and some roads in hilly areas are given first priority. Plowing and salt/sanding will continue as long as adverse weather conditions exist. Snow will be cleared from all emergency establishments and surrounding routes. These areas include the police station, fire station, ambulance station, and the hospital.
- Second Priority: Collector roads and some cul-de-sacs in hilly areas identified. Clear and maintain collector roads and designated hill and problem areas.
- Third Priority: Clearing cul-de-sacs and no thru roads. Work is carried out during regular working hours except in an extreme snow event. Clear cul-de-sacs is generally done last. It can take up to 48 hours to reach the cul-de-sacs from the time it stops snowing. If snow falls again within that time, crews must then return to the streets with higher priority. Understandably, this lengthens the response time for residential and cul-de-sac roads and is the prime cause of inquiries on snow control.
Please direct all requests, comments and concerns directly to the Public Works Department at 250-544-4224. The department is open Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
After hours, Central Saanich Police monitor road conditions by the officers in the field; during those hours, please call Central Saanich Police at 250-652-4441.
We are responsible for keeping well over 130 km of roads safe and passable; once a roadway is identified as potentially hazardous, operations staff respond based on snow clearing response priorities. Our service operates seven days a week to handle after-hour requests or problems.
Snow & Ice Control Tips
Your patience and co-operation is appreciated when our snow and ice control program is in operation. The following tips are to assist you:
- If possible, do not park your vehicle on the street or in your cul-de-sac. An empty street makes the passage of snow plows and salt spreaders much easier.
- Do not try to stop the plow truck operators and give the snow plow operators as much room as possible. Our drivers are aware of the surroundings, but the equipment is large and visibility can be difficult at times. Please do not attempt to wave down or step out in front of a salt truck or plow to get the driver’s attention.
- Walk on the left side of the road (facing traffic) on roadways where there are no sidewalks or the sidewalks are impassable due to snow.
- Please place the snow on the right side of your driveway as you face the road. This will keep snow plows from filling in your driveway as they clear the roads. (Pushing the snow from your driveway onto the road will add to the pack on the roads making a hazardous situation and increases danger.)
- Please shovel any catch basins if they are in front of your home. After a snow event when temperatures begin to rise will allow snow to melt and it will began to drain into the storm system and will reduce the chance of flooding and icing in the road. In turn will reduce the chance of flooding your own property.
Watch for downed trees and branches
Look for downed power lines and keep a safe distance. Trees or branches on hydro lines should to be reported to BC Hydro at 1-800-224-9376. For municipal parks, boulevards or other public lands and tree issues, please contact Public Works at 250-544-4224, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, please call Central Saanich Police non-emergency line at 250-652-4441.
In severe weather events, the power can be off for longer periods of time. Think ahead by ensuring you have a flashlight, blankets and a fully-charged cell phone on-hand in the event of a power outage. Never use a camp stove, barbecue, or propane or kerosene heater indoors. Please consider checking in with neighbours who may need assistance in the event of a power outage. For more information on preparing your home and business, to report an outage and for outage maps and restoration times, contact BC Hydro at 1-800-224-9376 or visit the BC Hydro website.
Checking on your neighbours
In extreme weather conditions, it takes the entire community to ensure our well-being and safety. During the snowstorm of 2019, there were countless stories of neighbours working together and taking care of each other. If you have neighbours who may need assistance, please check in with them. While many of us are staying close to home, this is an opportunity to build community networks and share contact information with neighbours. It is a key step to take in the effort of emergency preparedness, too.