Editorial: Stellar grade

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A forecast of moderate snowfall issued last week sent the usual waves of terror through Salt Spring Islanders and prompted some predictable questions. 

How many centimetres would fall? How long would the snow last? And, perhaps most critically, how bad would the roads be and how long would it take for people to be able to reach Ganges, Fulford or a ferry terminal of choice by vehicle, bus or on foot?

The snowfall was the first test for the new local roads maintenance contractor, Emcon Services, and by all accounts the company passed with flying colours.

Emcon easily impressed one long-time Dukes Road resident — Bob Elsea — who has been justifiably incensed in recent years at the lack of attention given to his road during snowfalls when Mainroad South Island Contracting had the maintenance contract here. 

More road maintenance equipment was also visible on the roads both during and before the snowfall. As a result, what was not so visible during and after the storm was the usual litter of vehicles in island ditches.  

Islanders can thank an Emcon rep in person — or ask other road maintenance questions — on Friday, Jan. 31, when Andrew Gaetz is a guest at the ASK Salt Spring session in the Thrifty Foods community room from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Last week’s Driftwood also contained an interview with Gaetz, who is the company’s quality assurance manager and road safety patroller. 

As Salt Spring Fire Chief Arjuna George pointed out, lots of advance warning and the timing of the major snowfall were also factors in keeping the mayhem to a minimum, so the credit needs to be shared. Island residents heeded the weather forecasts and stayed home in droves, and numerous businesses and institutions did not open on Wednesday so that workers were not compelled to try getting to their workplaces. 

We will also repeat chief George’s summary of how islanders and Emcon dealt with the storm: “Good job, Salt Spring.”

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