OPINION: Construction debris a-flying?

If you see unsafe conditions at a Squamish construction site the next time it is crazy windy, blow those concerns over to WorkSafeBC.

More often than one would think, when things go down in Squamish, concerned residents call the newspaper — often after posting on social media — before they contact authorities.

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That was the case with the windstorms that blasted Squamish on Dec. 20 and Feb. 9.

While we want those calls and messages to continue — such things are definitely newsworthy and we love to get the scoop direct from eyewitnesses — the first point of contact should always be the appropriate authorities.

In the case of debris spreading like seeds during a windstorm, that means contacting WorkSafeBC and perhaps the District.

It is Worksafe BC that residents should contact with any photos or video they capture of an unsafe worksite. as it is the governing body that oversees construction safety.

“The District responds when called upon to protect public safety — for example with emergency response or road closures as the case may be,” the District’s Christina Moore says.

Interestingly, according to Moore, the District received very few complaints from the public about construction-related debris being blown off of construction sites during the recent windstorms. “Though our public works crews were very busy responding to issues throughout the community, only one call received was specifically about a construction site.”

So, contact the paper, but first call those best able to help the situation, please!

A hopeful aside relating to construction debris spread outside worksites, the District is “very close” to introducing Construction Impact Mitigation Strategy Guidelines “that will require construction sites to outline their plans for mitigating the impact of various incidents — to maximize protection of the public from construction-related hazards and to minimize interference or obstruction from construction activities.”

Squamish is a windy place, in fact, a winter Arctic outflow wind is called, “a Squamish,”  so there’s not really any excuse for developers and contractors working locally not to prepare to batten down the hatches when the forecast calls for such conditions.

And while we are on the topic, a big shout out to all those in the community who helped out others during the recent weird weather events.

It was heartening to see people out securing each other’s outdoor valuables, holding doors open so they wouldn’t slam on customers and — once the winds finally stopped — neighbours helping neighbours collect their belongings that were strewn hither and thither.  Hopefully we will hold on to this small town tradtion tighter than our roof shingles stuck to our roofs. 


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