Snow and cold descend on Ponoka region

  • Jan. 12, 2011 8:00 p.m.
Joe Landsman creates an arc of snow as he clears the sidewalk in front of the Golden Leisure Lodge.

Joe Landsman creates an arc of snow as he clears the sidewalk in front of the Golden Leisure Lodge.

by CHARLES TWEED

Whoever wrote the classic lyric, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,” must have some Ukrainian heritage.

The day after some Ukrainian-Canadians celebrated the beginning of festive days, Ponoka and most of Western Canada was hit hard by a blizzard that left ditches with a smattering of vehicles.

Murray Mackay, who was out on the sidewalks clearing snow for the third time in less than 48 hours, was “not too impressed.”

“When I came here in ’67, the town had a small yellow industrial tractor with a blade and they would go around and clear the sidewalks. I think they should do that again,” he said.

While the sidewalks filled up, the blizzard made getting around on the roads a risky proposition, leading police to urge motorists to avoid travel if possible. Const. Karolina Malik saw several vehicles in the ditch on Saturday and in some cases helped transport stranded travellers to Ponoka for the night.

“Due to the fact it was too dangerous to bring tow trucks out on the roads, we were actually leaving vehicles that weren’t on the highway blocking traffic until visibility and road conditions got better,” said Malik.

Buses feeding Wolf Creek Public Schools were cancelled.

The storm itself dumped upwards of 20 cm of snow in a 24-hour period on Jan. 8 as recorded by the Red Deer Municipal Airport. The large amount in such a short period of time meant public works employees were hard at work in an attempt to clear streets in Ponoka.

Stan Baliant, director of property services, couldn’t put an exact day on when the snow would be removed but did say town crews are busy.

“Crews have been out all weekend and we are concentrated on snow removal with the main arteries being taken care of first,” said Baliant.