Snowy start to school week

Photo by Austin Andru

Students take a break outside in the snow at Durham College Monday.

By Shanelle Somers, Kirsten Jerry, Cassidy McMullen, Heather Snowdon, Aly Beach, Tracy Wright, William McGinn and Austin Andru

Police in Durham Region are reporting numerous accidents as a result of Monday’s snowfall, which brought about 10 centimetres of the white stuff to the area.

Staff-Sgt. Peter Shouldice of the Whitby detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) says they have seen a steady stream of accidents reported. Whitby OPP are responsible for monitoring Highway 401, Highway 407, Highway 412, Highway 2, Highway 7 and Highway 12.

Although he says there have been no serious accidents, there has been an “increase in weather-related motor vehicle collisions.”

Constable George Tudos of Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS) reports 37 accidents in the region during this morning’s commute, none of them serious.

The snowfall wreaked havoc on students trying to get to Durham College (DC) and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) campus in north Oshawa.

Matt Allen from Newcastle told the Chronicle, “even with a ride [the commute] probably takes about an hour, hour and a half.”

Theo Williams from Ajax estimates his commute time went up to one hour from 35 minutes because of the snow.

Victoria Robinson-Richardson is from Pickering. She has scoliosis and takes three buses to get to school.

“The cold actually makes my back hurt,” she says, adding it sometimes takes her an hour and 45 minutes to get to school.

Meantime, crews were busy on the campus clearing parking lots and roadways at DC and UOIT.

The company in charge of snow removal on campus is OGS Landscaping Service.

At the north Oshawa DC and UOIT campus, OGS has to clear 3,564 parking spots. At the Whitby campus, it has to clear 877, plus an additional 370 spots at the downtown Oshawa location.

Getting all of that done takes “a good 24 hours,” says Ross Carnwith, who is responsible for overseeing snow removal at DC.

Carnwith also has a message for people as they make their way around the various campuses.

“Be careful when you’re walking. There are slips, trips and falls. Watch your step, and don’t text while walking. Your safety is what matters most here,” he says.

The Chronicle reached out to the Regional Municipality of Durham regarding snow removal efforts. They said they were unable to talk as they were dealing with the current weather conditions.

Meantime, students who come to campus via Durham Region Transit (DRT) also experienced delays.

DRT was seeing delays of 10-40 minutes on select bus routes but there haven’t been any cancellations due to the weather, says Liam Hatch, a marketing assistant for DRT.

DRT encourages transit users to check DRT online for delays and see when their bus is scheduled, so bus riders won’t be out in the elements longer than needed.

“Yes, there’s going to be delays but we wouldn’t sacrifice safety,” Hatch says.