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

VIDEO: James Bay wolf released into wild of western Vancouver Island

Conservation officers confirm wolf is from Discovery Island

Traffic delays: Saturday work added to Highway 1 construction schedule

Work continues on dangerous stretch between Leigh Road and West Shore Parkway

Victoria shops avoid plastic bags, despite bylaw being voided

The city is working on getting the bylaw re-established

Supreme Court bans Victoria man from practising law

Jeremy Maddock received a law degree in 2016 but never completed articling

Canadian Tire Fix-A-Heart campaign raises more than $75,000 for Royal Jubilee Hospital

Donations will help purchase infusion pumps for cardiac care units

VIDEO: Driver guilty in Saanich crash that left 11-year-old with catastrophic brain injuries

North Saanich woman convicted on one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

The Three Bears are down to two after baby bear carving stolen from his perch in Island community

Thief repeatedly kicked it and dislodged it from cement and rebar

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Most Read