In many ways, snowstorm makes it difficult to get around
Published Monday, January 6, 2014 6:02PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 6, 2014 6:49PM EST
Whether on foot or in a wheelchair, by car, by bus or by plane, everyone added a few extra minutes to their commute Monday.
Grand River Transit, GO Transit and Guelph Transit all reported delays due to the inclement weather, which dropped as much as 25 cm of snow on parts of Waterloo Region.
Further to the west, Highway 21 was closed between Goderich and Saugeen Shores for most of Monday, only reopening after 5 p.m.
At Region of Waterloo International Airport, delays ruled the day – because of weather conditions elsewhere as much as because of the local situations – but eventually, people were able to get where they wanted to go.
“We’re able to maintain the runways, keep things open for all the arrivals and departures,” airport operations supervisor Jeremy Gardner tells CTV News.
One WestJet flight to Calgary was cancelled Sunday due to weather, prompting the airline to make an additional run Monday.
The Tuesday morning American Airlines flight to Chicago was also cancelled.
Jim Ferguson and his wife were supposed to fly to Cancun Monday morning, but delays getting their plane from Ottawa to Breslau meant a 9.5-hour delay – which didn’t bother Ferguson too much.
“The weather’s the weather. There’s not much you can do about it,” he says.
That’s a similar attitude taken by Waterloo Region residents with mobility issues.
Navigating snow-covered sidewalks can be difficult for wheelchairs.
“A wheelchair can get stuck in four or five inches of snow, and there’s a foot and a half out there,” wheelchair user Joshua Kortlebe says.
Kortlebe says when he hears bad weather is on the horizon, he tries to arrange his schedule so he won’t risk being trapped by it.
Sandy Stauffer, an outreach supervisor at the Independent Living Centre, says people using wheelchairs should let others know when they’re leaving their home, where they’re going and when they expect to be home – so that the person they’ve told will know if something doesn’t go according to plan.
“A lot of people get stuck and rely on the kindness of strangers driving by to help them get unstuck,” she says.
For anyone venturing outside, OPP recommend taking an emergency kit and charged cellphone due to the low temperatures and high windchill, which can quickly become dangerous.
At the City of Kitchener, corporate customer service manager Jeannie Murphy said 450 phone calls were received over the course of the day – fewer than during December’s ice storm, but about double what the city normally receives on a winter day.
Most of the calls were related to snow removal.
Plows clear main roads before turning their attention to neighbourhood streets, but city officials expected the whole city to have been plowed by 8 p.m. Monday.