School districts, universities closed as more snow smacks B.C.’s South Coast


More than two dozen school districts and several major universities on B.C.’s South Coast are closed Tuesday as snow pummels the region for the third day in a row. 


Almost every school district in the Lower Mainland, including Vancouver, Surrey and Abbotsford — three of the province’s largest — are shut. Only schools in Fraser-Cascade (School District 78) are open Tuesday.

The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University are also seeing closures.

The entire southwest corner of the province is under a new snowfall warning, with up to 25 fresh centimetres expected in some eastern areas. Environment Canada said the snowfall is expected to taper off late Tuesday afternoon.

The snow began Sunday and picked up again Monday afternoon, continuing overnight. 

Cars work their way down Main Street in Vancouver in the early hours Tuesday. The region, as well as the entire South Coast, is under a snowfall warning for the third day in a row. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Elsewhere in B.C., Environment Canada says a winter storm lashing the southeastern corner of the province could blanket some areas with as much as 35 centimetres of snow before the system passes late Tuesday.

In northeastern B.C., an extreme cold warning has been issued for the Peace River region, where wind chill values of –40 C are forecast around Fort St. John.

SkyTrain, bus delays

Monday’s commute in Metro Vancouver likely had many SkyTrain passengers grinding their teeth, with long delays and crowded platforms due to de-icing nightmares combined with a lack of TransLink staff.

Spokesperson Chris Bryan said trains were only at 50 per cent of normal service levels, but the authority is “fairly confident it’s going to be a better situation” at around 80 per cent of normal service Tuesday morning.

“We’ll have more trains out on the system, we’ll have a lot more capacity on the system and we’ve called out additional staff,” said Bryan.

He said there simply wasn’t enough staff available Monday to keep things running smoothly. Every train on the Expo and Millennium lines is being run by a staffer, rather than automatically, because of the weather.

Smaller buses are also running slower than usual Tuesday morning.

A bus makes its way around a snowy corner at Cambie Street and Marine Drive in South Vancouver. TransLink said bus service will be delayed Tuesday due to the weather and commuters should expect crowds. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Late Monday, a SkyTrain full of passengers stalled along the Canada Line in Richmond due to ice on the power rail.

“The train couldn’t get power, so the train failed,” Bryan said. “We’re really apologetic.”

The passengers were trapped for more than two hours before a second train was able to take them off.

The following school districts are closed Tuesday:

  • Abbotsford (SD34)
  • Burnaby (SD41)
  • Campbell River (SD72)
  • Chilliwack (SD33)
  • Comox Valley (SD71)
  • Coquitlam (SD43)
  • Cowichan Valley (SD79)
  • Delta (SD37)
  • Greater Victoria (SD61)
  • Gulf Islands (SD64)
  • Langley (SD35)
  • Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows (SD42)
  • Mission (SD75)
  • Nanaimo Ladysmith (SD68)
  • New Westminster (SD40)
  • North Vancouver (SD44)
  • Powell River (SD47)
  • Qualicum (SD69)
  • Richmond (SD38)
  • Saanich (SD63)
  • Sooke (SD62)
  • Sunshine Coast (SD46)
  • Surrey (SD36)
  • Vancouver (SD39)
  • West Vancouver (SD45)

The fountain in front of the B.C. Legislature in Victoria has been frozen for several days. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

The following universities and colleges are also closed:

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (all campuses)
  • Camosun College
  • Capilano University
  • Douglas College
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University (all campuses)
  • Langara College
  • Simon Fraser University (all campuses)
  • Trinity Western University (Richmond campus)
  • University of British Columbia (Point Grey campus)
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • University of Victoria
  • Vancouver Community College
  • Vancouver Island University (except Powell River campus)