A heavy load of snow lead to the collapse of one of several large vinyl structures at the Westerner Park this week.

Snow causes roof collapse at Westerner

It’s a bad time to be a roof in Central Alberta.

It’s a bad time to be a roof in Central Alberta.

Record snowfalls claimed a few roofs in the region in mid-December, and before the year was out, a “tremendous snow load” accumulated over many days of snowy weather caused another roof to come down, this time in Red Deer.

Sometime during the night on Dec. 30, snow brought down about half of the canvas top covering Tent D at the south end of the Westerner Park grounds. Crews noticed the collapse the next morning.

“It was there when they went home and it wasn’t there when they got back,” said Westerner Park CEO John Harms.

The tent structure, which Harms estimated to be at least 20 metres long, is used for stabling horses during equine events on the grounds for much of the year, but is empty during the winter months. The area was unoccupied at the time of the structural failure.

“We anticipate that we’ll be able to get it repaired in time for the beginning of our horse show season in early May,” said Harms.

There is no estimate yet on the damage. The collapsed tent is insured for $700,000 and Harms said he believes insurance will cover the damage.

Since the collapse, crews have knocked down much of the snow accumulated on the roofs of other buildings to prevent a similar failure.

City staff have been up on the roofs at City Hall and the Civic Yards monitoring snow accumulation for a month already, something they would typically start doing only in February. Public works manager Greg Sikora said staff have mostly been clearing snow around heat exchangers, air intakes and drainage vents to ensure the buildings stay ventilated.

Workers have also been managing snow loads around catchment areas to ensure drainage can occur whenever the snow melts. The city has not removed any snow from the buildings’ roofs yet though.

The city’s recreation buildings are also inspected regularly. Most of the buildings have peaked roofs.

A third round of roof inspections will take place today on Red Deer Public Schools buildings. Facilities and maintenance personnel with the division have already done two complete checks of school roofs, and have not yet found it necessary to clear off snow.

While most schools have flat roofs, which can lead to large snow build ups, if the snowpack is mostly dry even a large amount of snow might not be heavy enough to cause roof issues.

Outside of the city in Red Deer County, barns often prove most susceptible to heavy snows. In December, two barns collapsed and in another case, county staff and volunteer firefighters had to be called in to shore up a barn roof that was sagging against the weight.

In one of the cases, over 20 cattle died from a roof collapse on a farm near Bentley.

“That’s going to be an issue as we go through the winter here,” said Ric Henderson, director of community and protective services with the county.

Home insurance typically covers roof damage for houses, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. However, if a cottage roof collapses from the weight of snow, it is not covered by insurance.

mfish@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

‘Do Indians have property rights?’ Former Alberta chief’s land dispute in court

STANDOFF, Alta. — A dispute between two families over land on Canada’s… Continue reading

Buyers turn to letters to snag homes in Canada’s hot real estate markets

TORONTO — Monica Martins and her husband had been looking for a… Continue reading

Spin yarn unspun: Research upends theory that Vikings taught Inuit fibre skills

New research is upending old assumptions about what the ancestors of today’s… Continue reading

Woman sues fertility clinic, says lawsuit highlights need for better regulation

TORONTO — A lawsuit filed by a Toronto woman against a fertility… Continue reading

Female chefs say Canada’s culinary industry changing for the better

TORONTO — It was an Instagram photo that caught long-time restaurateur Stacey… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Magnus Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15 of Tour de France

CARCASSONNE, France — Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark sprinted away from two… Continue reading

Ryan Reynolds teases ‘Deadpool 2’ extended cut at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Reynolds has made a triumphant return to San… Continue reading

‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Shazam!” thrill Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Warner Bros. brought out all the stops Saturday at… Continue reading

All shell, no shock: Lobster prices strong, season picks up

PORTLAND, Maine — New England’s lobster industry faces big new challenges in… Continue reading

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month