NEWS

Dude, where's my car? Frustrated snow plow operators send a mountainous message

03/20/2015 01:55 EDT | Updated 05/20/2015 05:59 EDT
Two vehicle owners from St. John's who make a habit of parking their vehicles on school lots after heavy snowfalls received quite a shock this week.

They believe frustrated plow operators buried their vehicles under a mountain of the white stuff following an intense snowstorm Monday.

The first incident occurred at Holy Cross Elementary on Smith Ave., where Paul McCarthy discovered his Jeep deliberately buried in snow Tuesday morning.

He had to hire a backhoe to dislodge his vehicle. Luckily, he said there were no damages.

"I'm finally getting over it," McCarthy told CBC News Friday.

An odd place to leave a snow hill

On Thursday morning, Jennifer Piercey walked to her car in the lot at Bishops College on Pennywell Road, in the same neighbourhood.

Piercey could not find her new Hyundai Elantra.

However, she did think it was odd to find a huge snow hill in the parking lot, but assumed the city or the school board had towed away her vehicle since overnight parking is not permitted.

After making a few calls, she discovered that her car was completely buried underneath that hill of snow.

Piercey said she was shocked and a little disturbed.

"I think he tried really hard to get whatever he could to put on that car," Piercey said in an interview with CBC's Here and Now.

Leased car will need a paint job

The buried vehicle became a distraction for students, and school officials asked the contractor to clear away the snow from atop the car.

Piercey was expecting her car to be demolished from the weight of the snow, but was relieved to see it mostly intact.

The leased Elantra did sustain numerous scratches, and will likely require a new paint job. 

Piercey called the private contractor hoping for an apology, but said that's not what happened.

"He didn't show any empathy. He defended his actions and said that if I spoke to any snowclearing contractor in the city, they would admit to doing exactly the same thing out of frustration."

No justification

Piercey acknowledged she was wrong for parking her car in the school lot, but she said it's common practice in the area because there is on-street parking on Pennywell Road, and parking becomes a nightmare after a snowstorm.

Piercey said she spent two days digging out her car after Monday's storm, and parked in the school lot to make it easier for city crews to clear the street.

She understands that such a practice may be frustrating for those who clear parking lots, but added it's no justification for what was done to her car.

"I feel there could have been better options than covering my car in a mountain of snow," she said.

A statement Friday from the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District offered regrets for the incident and an apology to Piercey for the damage and inconvenience.

The school board expressed its dissatisfaction with the incident to the contractor, who has agreed to pay for the damage to Piercey's vehicle.

"The district will review this matter to ensure such an incident does not occur in the future and in order to ensure safe snowclearing operations in the future, we will be placing signs prohibiting parking on this lot outside of school operating hours so as not to interfere with snowclearing operations or other maintenance functions," the board's statement read.

Calls to the snowclearing contractor made by CBC News were not returned.

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