Unprepared winter cottagers may face harsh realities
HUNTSVILLE, ONT. -- This winter, seasoned travellers and snowbirds may not have the option of travelling south, but they do have the option of travelling north.
According to Chief Rob Collins with the Huntsville Fire Department, there is an indication that there will be more people living in their seasonal homes due to COVID-19 restrictions.
And while Huntsville didn't get hit with the snow Tuesday, up north temperatures are typically colder. There is usually more snow during the wintertime compared to other areas of the region.
"Weather can get bad quickly here," said Collins. "We have storms that can last for several days, large snowfalls, wind conditions, and it's going to look a lot different than in Toronto or the GTA."
But there is a concern for those deciding to flock north during this time of the year, and there are many hazards.
Because many cottages are located on private laneways and roads, it is difficult for emergency crew vehicles to get through. It's important to make sure you have a plan in place for snow removal or access in the event of an emergency.
Aside from access, it's crucial to check that smoke alarms are up to date and that outdoor vents are cleared of snow.
It's also advised to keep a supply of emergency food, blankets, and medications for a few days in case of inclement weather.
"There is a good chance you could get snowed in for a couple of days," said Collins. "There's also a possibility that you could be out of power for a few days as well."
Steven Hernen, Town of Huntsville, warned that not all roads are maintained by the municipality, and those are clearly marked.
"Anyone coming to the area has to make sure they have proper snow tires, an extra blanket, and have alternate ways of communication," said Hernen.