Frozen pipes affecting hundreds of Winnipeg properties; students cope with cold weather keeping them indoors
Published Monday, February 24, 2014 6:45PM CST Last Updated Monday, February 24, 2014 7:53PM CST
Winnipeg is back into a deep freeze, leaving many frustrated with arctic-like temperatures.
On Feb. 24 at 8 a.m. it was -28 and with the windchill it felt like -40, leaving many looking for a winter warm-up.
Angela Mondor has been using big buckets to flush her toilet. Her family has been functioning without running water due to frozen pipes for a week.
"I can't cook in my home. I can't clean. There's a lot of things you need water for that you don't think about,” said Mondor.
She said she is on the city’s list to have her pipes thawed out, but has no clue when crews will show up.
To make dinner, Mondor bought steamed micro-wave dinners and boiled pots of snow.
She said if the water doesn’t come back on soon, she’ll have to go to a hotel.
Thawing crews working seven days a week
The city said it has about 296 properties with frozen pipes waiting to be thawed water pipes.
“Not only did we start receiving reports of frozen pipes earlier than in a typical winter, this is the highest number of reports of frozen pipes in over 35 years,” said Lisa Fraser, communications officer with the City of Winnipeg.
The city said priority is given to schools, hospitals, day cares, and residents that have special health needs, but otherwise attends the properties on the list in the order that that they receive them.
The crew must make at least two visits. The first visit is to determine where the pipe is frozen.
There are three crews dedicated to thawing frozen water pipes, working seven days a week.
Students struggle at times because of cold temperatures cancelling recess
One Grade Five class at Greenway School on St. Matthews has tackled cabin fever with singing and dancing.
During their 15 minute recess, they do a singing and dancing rendition of Kesha’s Timber. They say they’ve been enjoying their indoor recess activities, but are sick of the cold.
Since the new year, the students have only been able to go outside for morning recess one time. Afternoon recess averages about two times per week, said Greenway School Vice-Principal Dave Tanner.
"They struggle at times. They need the activity. They need the fresh air. and they need to get outside and socialize,” said Tanner. “We try to put those type of things in indoor recess, but it’s tough with confined spaces.”
He said it’s harder for the older students in Grade Five and Six, who need a break away from their desks.
Anytime it’s -28 with the wind chill or below students do not go outside for recess. The Winnipeg School Division said kids had to stay indoor for recess more this year, compared to last year and the year before.
Tanner says kids having outdoor play is important to a child’s development, just like learning in the classroom.