By Tuan Minh Nguyen
Residents of Belleville, Quinte West and eastern Northumberland County were hit recently with a significant snowfall that caused disruptions and challenges for many in the community. The snowfall began last Wednesday afternoon and continued until Thursday about noon, leaving behind a total accumulation of over 16.8 centimetres by the end of Jan. 26, according to the weather station at CFB Trenton.
For many residents, the heavy snowfall caused major disruptions to their daily routines. Some power outages and dangerous driving conditions made it difficult for people to get to work or school. The City of Belleville’s Public Works department worked around the clock to clear the streets and sidewalks, but the sheer volume of snow made the task difficult. It was recommended that many residents stay indoors, as they were unable to get to work or school due to the dangerous conditions.
The following campus update was posted on Wednesday on the college website to all Loyalist students, faculty and staff, to minimize the risk this snowfall could pose: “Due to inclement weather, all in-person instruction on campus at Loyalist College is cancelled as of 4 p.m. through this evening.” Many classes in the afternoon ended earlier than expected, so that students could return home early before most of the snowfall started.
The heavy snowfall also had a significant impact on the local transportation system. Many bus routes were extra busy which caused a lot of inconvenience for travellers.
Jaspreet Singh, a first-year student in the project management program, usually goes to school by bus. On Wednesday, he said he had to wait 20 minutes for the bus. “It’s so cold and there is so much snow,” he said. “It’s very hard to survive here if you are not familiar with this condition.”
Despite the difficulties, members of the local community came together to support one another and work through the challenges. Many residents used social media to share information about road conditions and power outages, and to offer assistance to those in need.
The city’s snow-clearing resources were mobilized to full capacity, and worked tirelessly, plowing, and salting the streets to make them passable. Crews also worked to clear sidewalks and driveways, making it possible for people to move around safely. As a result, most of the main roads were cleared by Wednesday night, permitting residents to return to their normal activities.
“I just wanted to extend a huge thank you to the City of Belleville worker who was plowing the streets tonight,” Lily Woods, a resident of Belleville, shared on Facebook. “My little car had no chance making it onto my unplowed dead-end road, so he went out of his way to get it plowed for me! Wish I grabbed his name, but if he sees this thank you! You made my night!”
By late Thursday morning, Jan. 26, when the snowfall started to end, life of people in Belleville got back on track. The main roads had been cleared of snow, vehicles were able to move around more easily, and classes returned to normal.