Snow collapses roof 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

Severe thunderstorm watch for Central Alberta

Thunderstorm watch covers large area including Sylvan Lake to Stettler

WATCH: Kayakers go over Ram Falls south of Nordegg

Two take 30-metre plunge, post video of thrill ride

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Nightly closures on Taylor Drive next week

Taylor Drive to be closed Monday to Friday night for bridge demolition work

Remains of all eight Bruce McArthur victims now identified: Toronto police

Toronto police say they’ve now recovered and identified the remains of all… Continue reading

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

From hot to not? The Baloney Meter weighs in on Scheer’s economy claims

OTTAWA — “Justin Trudeau inherited a booming economy, but he’s squandering it.… Continue reading

Scathing suicide inquiry finds gaps, shortcomings at Royal Military College

OTTAWA — Members of a board of inquiry into three suicides at… Continue reading

Premiers strike deal to allow increased flow of beer, alcohol across borders

ST. ANDREWS, N.B. — Canada’s premiers are set to wrap up their… Continue reading

Trump ready to hit all Chinese imports with tariffs

President Donald Trump has indicated that he’s willing to hit every product… Continue reading

Canada’s annual inflation rises 2.5% thanks to boost from higher energy prices

OTTAWA — The country’s annual inflation rate rose 2.5 per cent in… 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