|By Matthew Desrosiers - Editor | January 23, 2014
A woman died in Gooderham
Two weeks ago, Bonita Dewey was crushed under her roof, snow, and ice, while sweeping off her porch after a heavy snowfall. The buildup of snow and ice on the structure, combined with the rain that followed, made for a tragic incident that has left one family devastated
It could have happened to anyone
Take a drive down some of the roads here in the Highlands and look at the car ports or overhanging roofs. Notice the heavy snow that’s left to sit there, nearly buckling the structure and putting anyone at risk who dares to tread beneath.
Tool sheds are another hazardous area, where too often people neglect to maintain the roof, causing the whole structure to collapse when the door is slammed shut
Dewey likely didn’t second guess her actions that afternoon. It’s also unlikely she heard anything more than a crack before the roof fell on her
It’s one thing when private residences are poorly maintained – at least then the damage done is often isolated – but when downtown businesses have to block off parts of the sidewalk because of snow and ice buildup on their roofs, the situation is out of hand
For several weeks, the sidewalk at the corner of Maple and Highland Streets in Haliburton Village was blocked off because of the snow on the building. After the incident in Gooderham, crews were quickly dispatched to take care of the problem. The timing might have been coincidental – or it could be they got the message.
But now there’s another barricade up. The laneway off of Highland Street that leads to a parking lot has been blocked off because of snow and ice building up on the roofs of the adjacent buildings. Someone, somewhere – either the business owners, property owners, or the municipality – has recognized the problem, but instead of making it a priority, they applied a Band-Aid solution.
This weekend, hundreds of visitors are coming to the Village for the Pond Hockey Championships. There will be seniors and kids all over the main street, and right in its heart lies this hazard. You never know when the roof will finally give out, or the ice and snow shift, causing harm or death to anyone in its path. Just ask the Dewey family.
A wooden barricade won’t keep someone out if they think it’s a short cut to their car in the parking lot, nor will a child understand they can’t play there if they happen to escape their parent’s grasp.
If it’s a known issue, there is no excuse for the snow to be allowed to build up that much to begin with, let alone to leave it there to melt off on its own. If it does release, the snow won’t come a little bit at a time, but in large sheets. If the roof starts to fail, it won’t be gradual, either.
Either the BIA or the municipality needs to get involved and make this a priority. We’ve seen, as early as two weeks ago, what poor maintenance can cause. It is unacceptable to take those same risks in the heart of Haliburton Village.
MATTHEW DESROSIERS is the editor of The Highlander and tries to find room in his house amongst the animals that have taken over his abode in Tory Hill. He thinks The Highlander’s office manager Ashley is pretty sweet, but loves all of the staff as long as they work as hard as he does. Matthew has an impressive, and kind of creepy, obsession with Star Wars. You might catch him volunteering with the HE Fire Department or covering local sports.