It took a big solution to solve a big snowdrifting problem for the community of Baker Lake in Nunavut. RWDI’s extensive experience in solving snowdrifting problems in cold regions was put to the test when Baker Lakes’ troubles were brought to the firm in 1987.
To combat annual snow accumulations created by strong local winds, which literally, buried homes in the hamlet, and put their safety at risk, RWDI proposed an over-sized snow fence.
Taking the example of a previous fence structure created for an equally snow plagued Wainwright Alaska, project manager Bill Waechter determined through model studies that, by placing a 5.5 meter high fence in the right location, the troublesome snowdrifts would be held far away from affected homes.
Trials over the course of a winter proved the effectiveness of the concept. Consequently, two kilometers of fence comprised of wood beams, steel pipe poles, and wooden slats were constructed.
Not only did Baker Lake, and eventually other northern communities lessen the amount of snowdrifting around their buildings, but they also reduced costs associated with snow removal.
Snow fences are low-tech solutions, frequently used by RWDI to solve drifting snow problems. In the case of Baker Lake and other communities, the giant snow fences were far-from ordinary and produced highly positive outcomes.