Schools on the Sunshine Coast reopened Friday, but icy conditions on secondary roads meant some school buses didn’t run and drivers were also getting into trouble in some spots.
“All Sunshine Coast Schools will be open and most school buses will be running today,” School District No. 46 said in a morning update. “Pender Harbour buses will not run in the morning due to slippery back roads. Also, the Bonniebrook bus will not be running this morning. Possible school bus delays in other areas as well.”
The biggest headache for drivers was on Highway 101 in Sechelt, where a sheet of ice had formed on the hill between the Tsain Ko Centre and the intersection of 101 and Wharf Avenue.
Transit buses were stuck at the top of the hill, and several vehicles slid off to the side trying to navigate the slick road. Other drivers chose to try to detour through the shíshálh Nation lands.
Volunteers from the nearby NAPA Auto Parts store fetched bags of salt and got to work, and plows and sanders had arrived on the scene by shortly after 9 a.m.
NAPA Auto Parts manager Kyle Eyfjord said, “We have a lot of bags of salt in our store and [we] jumped into action to make sure everyone could get down that hill. It was an ice rink and we felt we couldn’t stand there and watch and that we had to do something to help.”
The District of Sechelt said it couldn’t wait either and dispatched its work crews, even though the district is not responsible for maintaining that section of road, which like all of Highway 101, is part of the Capilano Highways maintenance contract with the province.
“The DoS does not do highways – but today we did. For the safety of our citizens, we didn’t wait for Highways to do it,” said communications manager Julie Rogers on the district’s Facebook page.
There were no reports of serious accidents.
Capilano Highways said crews were hoping to finish clearing secondary roads Friday in preparation for the additional snow expected Friday night and into Saturday.
BC Hydro crews, meanwhile, were able to get power restored to most Sunshine Coast customers by the end of the day Jan. 16.
“Conditions made restoration efforts and access difficult on the Sunshine Coast. Additional crews arrived to help restore the majority of remaining customers and crews are on their way to outages affecting customers in Irvines Landing and on Texada Island,” the utility said Friday morning.
About 350 customers remained off the grid in Irvines Landing.
And, it looks like winter is not done with the area yet. Environment Canada has issued a new special weather statement. “The next Pacific storm arrives tonight with a mix of wintery weather,” said forecasters, “An approaching Pacific storm will bring a mixture of snow, freezing rain, and rain to the south coast beginning tonight and continuing Saturday. Strong winds will also accompany the storm.”