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Snow shovel social: North Delta parents help clear school grounds

Groups of parents used social media to coordinate impromptu work parties to help ensure walkways and playgrounds were safe for their kids.
Parents hard at work clearing snow and ice from the walkways at Gray Elementary.

Rather than complain on social media when the snow began to fall last weekend, many North Delta neighbours used the Internet to get organized.

With January’s pesky flurries still fresh in their memories, several community members went back to school, shovels and snow blowers in hand, to help clear walking paths and playgrounds.

Residents were spotted working solo in late evenings, in large groups of parents and kids during the day, and even on Super Bowl Sunday.

Will and Jill Douglas attracted a shovelling crew out to Sunshine Hills Elementary on Sunday through a couple of simple social media posts looking to increase action instead of the complaints heard after January’s snowfall.

Parents and kids come together to help dig out Sunshine Hills Elementary. Photo credit: Jill Douglas

Parents and kids come together to help dig out Sunshine Hills Elementary. Photo credit: Jill Douglas

“All I did was post on Facebook and show up when I said I would,” Will Douglas said. “We had a dozen or so people come out on Sunday, with others coming on their own time. Kim Kautzman has been relentless in her shovelling efforts.”

Dana Chenier saw Douglas’ Facebook post in the North Delta Community Corner Facebook group. She then posted in the Sunshine Wood Parents group looking to gather people and shovels at Pinewood Elementary.

“I posted a message at 10:39 p.m. Saturday night, and people were texting back until after midnight,” Chenier said. “Twelve hours later, we had more than 25 adults and 15 kids with shovels in hand.”

The Delta School District strives to keep schools open if at all possible during winter weather, including through snowfalls, according to a statement on the district’s website from superintendent Doug Sheppard.

In response to news about the rogue snow shovel groups, a district spokesperson said there is no expectation for people to come out and shovel; however, it is great to have such community-minded people in Delta.

Parents at Gray Elementary also decided to be proactive in snow removal, with discussion at a PAC meeting that the district doesn’t have resources to clear playing areas for outdoor breaks.

“We came out as families, and shovelled for the kids, so they can go outside and have fun in the snow,” said Sonja Gustavsen, mother of three Gray students. “It turned into a fun event, with kids playing and lots of smiles.”