Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
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Delightful, damaging deep-freeze
The last number of weeks have brought us bitter cold temperatures and winds, travel delays, fender benders, cars that won't start, furnaces that break down, water-main breaks, mountains of snow, and so on.
Throughout all of this I have heard people complain about the inconvenience this weather has caused them. It is also important, however, to recognize the thousands of people who worked late or did a little extra and braved the bitter cold to pull us out of snowbanks, pump our gas, boost our dead cars, or tried their best to fix travel plans affected by the storms.
It's easy to only look at the things that go wrong and make that our focus. For 2014, let's focus on being grateful for the people who try to make the best of a tough situation or go the extra mile to fix a problem for us.
This weather is nobody's fault and a lot of amazing people have done a lot during the last month to make it more bearable for the rest of us.
Thank you to all who have gone the extra mile during the holiday season and this bitter cold snap. You are the people who put Winnipeg on the map -- not for the cold, but for your kindness.
I agree with John Perrin (Revelling in the cold, Jan. 4); the numbers make it sound colder than it really is.
The media have an obsession with weather reporting. Conditions that are perfectly within the range of normal are reported as if they are extreme.
For example, there's the emphasis on wind-chill temperatures instead of real temperatures. Even though full wind exposure isn't present everywhere and may or may not affect us, the wind-chill temperature is more newsworthy.
Then there are the ridiculous statistics and comparisons: Winnipeg is colder than Antarctica or Mars. Not true -- it's all about shock value and hyperbole. Antarctica's lowest temperature ever recorded was around -90 C, while on Mars temperatures range from 20 to -153 C.
Are we bragging or complaining? It doesn't really matter. We should quit whining and get on with enjoying the magic of winter in Winnipeg: Dress well for the conditions, enjoy the bright white snow, brilliant blue sky, the crunchy sound underfoot, and the snappy fresh feeling in the air.
There's nowhere quite like Winnipeg in winter or summer -- it's fabulous year-round.
I love winter in Winnipeg. I can always add more layers to get warmer. In the summer, meanwhile, there is only so much (legally) that I can remove to cool down.
We recently had our residential street in Westwood plowed. A well-aged specimen, I started clearing my blocked sidewalk. A massive front-end loader appeared around the corner and, to my surprise, aimed his bucket at my blockage and cleared it in four seconds.
I mouthed my thanks, and he opened his window to say we may be getting another 10 centimetres of snow on Friday. We both laughed, shook our heads, and he was gone.
I don't expect sidewalk clearing, but this very decent kindness was greatly appreciated. We are fortunate to have dedicated snow-removing crew -- just one more reason why I am delighted to live in Winnipeg despite its coolish winters.
As a former Winnipegger, I was dismayed by the conditions of the city roads during the Christmas holidays. I have lived in Ottawa for the last 10 years and have been accustomed to the Cadillac version of snow clearing.
Ottawa clears the roads down to clear pavement on a regular basis. Considering the property taxes are somewhat equivalent, it is disconcerting Winnipeggers put up with this lack of service and the poor impression uncleared roads leave with visitors to the city.
ANNA MARIA MARINELLI
With the recent record cold snap and Winnipeg's reputation for hospitality, our new tourism slogan is a gimme: Winnipeg -- Cold as Mars, Warm as Hell!
The roads are really bad right now, so why don't the drivers on the roads slow down?
I had to go out the other day and it was frightening. I witnessed the aftermath of four collisions in the one hour I was on the road.
People should understand the road conditions before getting behind the wheel. Almost every crash is preventable.
I have never endured winter street conditions as deplorable as they have been recently. After a well-paid consultant advised city hall to plow less to save snow-clearing dollars, we the motorists are left bearing the brunt of the impact.
The civic administration's approach to street-maintenance issues has long infuriated this motorist. Those in charge have shown a distinct disregard for the feelings, the pocketbooks, and the safety of the motoring public, as exhibited by this snow job, the plethora of unfilled potholes each spring and the interminable road-repair projects that paralyze city traffic each summer.
They pinch pennies and want to be seen as keeping a tight budget rather than supporting reasonable tax levies for reasonable performance.
It's time to stop listening to the decision-makers at city hall droning on about the savings from contracting out.
That thrifty budget measure proves the old adage -- you get what you pay for. How many days will it take the non-city workers to get rid of the icy ruts on the main streets of Winnipeg?
Civic politicians don't have to worry because it will be the Manitobans who will bear the cost through car accidents covered under MPI.
Here's a new promo to attract newcomers to our fair city. Move to Winnipeg -- experience the thrill of the luge and the mogul skier each time you step into your car.
I am in full agreement with Diana Amey's comments (City stuck in a rut, Jan.6).
City council should be ashamed and embarrassed with the conditions of our streets.
Let's take some of the money used to promote our great city and clean the streets properly. Here's a tip: You have to be able to get around safely.
While most of us despise Manitoba Public Insurance and its lackadaisical attitude towards customer service, Gary Hook was off the mark in his letter (MPI reaction ice cold, Jan. 4).
MPI made the right call on the frozen vehicles stuck in the ice due to a water-main break.
This is not an MPI cause of action for compensation. This, and any claims, costs and actions to retrieve the vehicles, are the sole responsibility of the city or the landlord, depending on where the water-main break occurred.
Should the vehicles sustain damage related to the retrieval, then and only then does your MPI insurance come into effect.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 7, 2014 A6
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