Kate Grafton is upset at the lack of action by the Greater Victoria Housing Society to clear the snow at Colwood Lodge on Belmont Road, leaving many of the residents stuck inside. (Provided by Kate Grafton)

‘We feel forgotten’: Colwood resident stranded inside seniors apartment due to uncleared snow

Greater Victoria Housing Society says lean on neighbours or plan ahead

A number of residents living with disabilities are stranded inside a Colwood apartment complex after the dump of heavy snow, which has not been cleared since Monday according to one resident.

On Wednesday night, Kate Grafton, who lives in the Colwood Lodge at 85 Belmont Rd., said she feels forgotten and hadn’t been able to leave to get groceries due to the unclear walkways.

According to Grafton, all 60 residents living in the seniors building run by the Greater Victoria Housing Society live with some sort of disability and at least three-quarters of the residents have mobility issues and need home support from care aides at least two to three times per day.

Kay Melliship, executive director with the GVHS, said that’s not true, adding that although she can’t talk about specific tenants says the home is for seniors who are independent and only knows of one tenant with a service dog and a wheelchair.

READ ALSO: Snowstorm 2020: The latest on weather, travel and schools

Grafton says while the path was cleared slightly on Wednesday, they did a “terrible job” in her opinion by removing only enough snow for an abled body person to get around. (Provided by Kate Grafton)

On Wednesday, Grafton’s care aide — who helps her get up in the morning and make breakfast — had to cancel due to the snowy conditions. Luckily, Grafton is able to manage on her own but she worries about the other residents.

“Even if the home support workers are able to get here, some won’t walk into the building unless they can park out front,” she said. “Some people weren’t able to take their meds [today], some people weren’t able to get dressed.”

Melliship called the snow an “extraordinary circumstance” and said tenants need to either lean on their neighbours or plan ahead.

“I can appreciate [some tenants] might have needed food or not have been prepared, in spite of all the warnings we got but tenants need to prepare themselves.”

Grafton has lived in the lodge for five years, three of which have gotten snow. She says she’s never seen the parking lot plowed and called in a favour to get someone out to plow the lot during the 2019 snowstorm.

READ ALSO: Public asked to call 811 in non-medical emergencies due to ‘significant’ increase in emergency calls

A frying pan has been left outside Colwood Lodge by one resident for others to use if they need to clear the snow. (Provided by Kate Grafton)

With no shovels on site, one resident left a cast iron frying pan outside for people to try their best at clearing the walkways.

“[We] have a right to know that we can exit our building if there was a fire or if somebody needed an emergency vehicle,” said Grafton.

On Wednesday, “unidentified individuals” shoveled some of the snow but in Grafton’s opinion they “did a terrible job,” leaving about half of the walkway covered in snow and only making it wide enough for an able-bodied person to manoeuvre.

Grafton said the backyard is also an issue, with the path to the yard covered in so much snow she can’t get outside to watch her service dog, Kyla, when she needs to go out. Currently, only Kyla is able to get into the backyard.

“We’re here, we deserve access like everyone else,” she said. “We feel forgotten.”

Melliship said she reached out to the people who cleared the walks at Colwood Lodge on Wednesday and was told they were mindful of the needs of some tenants in wheelchairs and the service dog but did the best they could.

“I think we did a really good job. They did a good job and I’m grateful because we had very limited staff … so we did the best we could with the resources we had,” says Melliship. “Had the circumstances been worse, we wouldn’t have come.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lacrosse player Patrick Dodds, 19, got his start playing for the Saanich Tigers in Braefoot Park and has now been drafted to the Calgary Roughnecks for the upcoming National Lacrosse League season. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Calgary Roughnecks draft young Saanich lacrosse star for coming NLL season

Going pro at 19 is ‘surreal,’ says Patrick Dodds

Helping others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, keeps MOD Pizza owner Jim Hayden cooking. (RIck Stiebel/News Staff)
A 1900s writing box found in Greater Victoria contained ink, photos and a letter addressed to Clara McCaubry dated October 14, 1898. (Photo courtesy Suzanne Hervieux)
Mysterious 1900s writing box finds a home among Saanich Archives

Wooden chest owned by early Saanich resident Clara Isabelle McCaubry

(Black Press Media file photo)
Spooky online class cooks up funds for Greater Victoria Imagination Library

United Way Greater Victoria offers how-to for witch cookies, tasty coffin as fundraiser

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read