Operations manager says staff available to help clear out vehicles buried under snow
© Star photo by Paul Hutchings
Vehicles parked for prolonged preiods of time at the Deer Lake Regional Airport can get almost buried in the snow. The airport’s operations manager says staff is available to help returning travelers clear out their cars.
Travelers leaving their vehicles for prolonged periods of time at the Deer Lake Regional Airport can expect to be shoveling those vehicles out when they come back.
Airport operations manager Lendl Smith said although staff most certainly cannot clean off individual vehicles after a snowstorm, they can help dig those vehicles out.
At any given time the parking lot can have more than 500 cars and trucks parked in the newly-expanded lot, and last week that count was almost 1,000 according to Smith’s figures.
A recent flight into the province showed giant lumps of snow completely covering vehicles while the roadway between the lots was plowed. The snow accumulation was halfway up car doors, making it difficult to even open them.
“We’ll do our best to help people. We have shovels that travelers can use,” said Smith. “If they do need help we can arrange to get someone there. They just have to call security, it won’t cost them anything.”
He said the airport provides its own snow clearing from the highway turnoff, and this winter has presented the same challenges faced by several towns.
Airport staff have heard complaints from some travelers who have parked overnight and experienced some damage, but for the most part the snowplows stay as far from the parked vehicles as they can.
Vehicle damage that has occurred includes broken plastic pieces resulting from snow being pressed up against bumpers as the plow goes by. The airport, he said, only averages a few of those per year and, for the most part, the airport is only responsible for damage done directly by airport staff.
While drivers are shoveling, the operations manager asked for common courtesy.
“We don’t want to see people shoveling snow onto someone else’s vehicle — that’s not right,” he said.
“They should watch where they place the snow they do shovel.”
Smith said it’s preferable for drivers to shovel into the roadways between the rows of parked vehicles. Then, when drivers are at the gate, they should let the attendant know the snow is there so it can be plowed away as soon as possible.
Winter has been fairly rough on the region, with some towns practically running out of space to put the extra snow.
Frozen water lines in Deer Lake are becoming a regular occurance and the town recently issued a plea to residents to not push excess snow into the roadways from their driveways.