Facilities crews ready to dig in after first snow

Brandon Watson // Special to Western News

Snow continues to fall on the recently cleared and salted path to Physics and Astronomy Building on Tuesday monring.

Winter and snow can evoke polarizing emotions in people.

No one knows this better than Bryan Wakefield, Director of Operations Facilities Management and the Landscape Services Team. Although, only a few months into the job and entering his first winter at Western, Wakefield is aware of the challenges ahead.

“Love it or hate it – we’ve got to deal with it,” Wakefield said. “I enjoy the snow personally, but feel the same sense of frustration as everyone else when it wreaks havoc on the morning commute.”

Recent squall conditions have led to the Landscape Services crew digging in. During a major snow events, it can mean several overnight and rotating shifts to keep the trucks rolling and the shovels clearing.

Wakefield admits the size of the campus plays a role in his team’s snow management strategy. The campus is connected by 15 kilometres of roadway and pathway, has more than 7,000 parking spaces, and hundreds of building entrances. With tens of thousands of staff, faculty, and students arriving on campus daily, the crew can be spread thin just trying to keep up.

“We can be inundated by ongoing events,” Wakefield said. “During continuous, heavy snow fall, we will stay on top of our priority areas – trying to keep major paths and roadways open, while also focusing on essential services such as emergency routes, accessibility infrastructure, daycare facilities, loading docks, and large lots.”

According to Wakefield, the campus community can best support the team’s efforts by reporting areas that have been left for a significant amount of time or are extremely slippery to Facilities Management Client Services at ext. 83304. More over, he wants everyone to be safe and responsible, take the weather in stride, and look out for one another.

“We have to work together to ensure that students and colleagues stay safe,” Wakefield said. “It really is vital that the campus community take proper precautions, dress for the weather, and plan their trip across campus in these conditions.”