[Editor's note: Story updated at 4:30 with comments from Town of Port Hawkesbury CAO Terry Doyle.]
[Editor's note: Story updated at 2:35 p.m. with comments from Town of Antigonish CAO Jeff Lawrence.]
Monday morning (Sept. 9), more than half of the residents of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) remained without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
MODG chief administrative officer (CAO) Barry Carroll noted it could be “several days” before some of those in the dark will be reconnected.
By just before lunchtime, the Nova Scotia Power outage map (outagemap.nspower.ca) indicated there are 5,883 ‘active’ outages affecting 203, 365 customers.
In the neighbouring Municipality of the District of St. Mary's, there are outages “throughout the district,” according to CAO Marvin MacDonald.
“Very spotty cellular and internet service is providing challenges in communications,” he said.
MacDonald noted there are comfort centres open in Port Bickerton and Indian Harbour Lake.
“Others will open as necessary, depending on restoration of power,” he added, in an email.
In the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, there were warming-charging centres available at the St. Joseph’s Lakeside Community Centre, Havre Boucher Community Centre, North Shore Volunteer Fire Department and the municipal office on Beech Hill Road.
“Community response was also excellent,” Antigonish County clerk-treasurer Glenn Horne said.
Like countless municipalities across the province, Carroll said some homeowners in MODG are dealing with siding and roof damage, while some private and public wharves have been damaged.
“Some boats that didn't make it out of the water have had some damage,” he wrote.
He noted downed trees on some roads were “cleared relatively quickly.”
Speaking of trees on roads, a Sunday morning drive on Marsh Road in Antigonish County presented challenges for motorists.
Several residents, with chainsaws in hand, were pitching in to remove debris and clear the path for vehicles.
Down the road, at one of several found in Antigonish County, boaters were checking on their vessels at Cribbons Point wharf.
Back in town, drive-thrus were bulging with drivers and passengers in search of their food and beverage fixes.
Fallen trees were also easily found, including along picturesque Hawthorne Street.
Staff have been working around the clock to ensure the effect on residents is minimal.
And, just a couple blocks from the downtown Sunday morning, several onlookers gathered as removal experts carved up a teetering tree on Pleasant Street.
“As we expected, Dorian caused wide spread power outages, which have had an impact on some municipal systems and services,” Horne said.
“Staff have been working around the clock to ensure the effect on residents is minimal.”
He described communication before and during the storm among EMO, municipal and Town of Antigonish officials as “excellent.”
With the clean-up continuing Monday, the provincial government decided to close public schools for the day.
“A sincere and special thanks needs to be extended to our public works staff, Nova Scotia Power and first responders, who have all contributed to the quick recovery following this storm,” Horne said.
Town of Antigonish CAO Jeff Lawrence, along with his Town of Port Hawkesbury counterpart Terry Doyle, echoed that sentiment.
“Loss of power was something we expected, and I believe the response from the town’s electric utility, by-law and public works department was excellent in getting everyone’s service back as quickly as possible,” Lawrence said.
He added “the community’s patience as our crews worked through a difficult 24 hours was much appreciated."
Lawrence noted “additional clean-up of branches and fallen trees will be assessed in the days following the storm.”
He said town staff monitored weather warnings, in the lead-up to the storm, “to ensure we had the resources available to be as prepared as possible.”
“Regular check-ins with the County [of Antigonish] and EMO were vital, as we worked to keep residents informed leading up to and during the storm," he added.
Doyle said town officials “feel fortunate not to have any reported serious injuries resulting from the storm.”
“Residents did suffer the effects of uprooted and wind-damaged trees causing property damage and power outages,” he added.
By 5 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 8), Doyle noted the majority of the town’s NSP customers had service restored. Nevertheless, as of 4 p.m. Monday (Sept. 9), he said there remain “pockets” that do not have power.
“With the time without power increasing, it is more difficult for these residents to meet basic needs,” Doyle said.
He noted the town's volunteer fire department has “remained busy,” answering several calls throughout Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
Doyle added water and wastewater services have remained operating with the assistance of auxiliary power units.
“Public works staff were very busy Sunday and throughout today, cleaning up debris from the wind damage. Our leaf and yard waste site was opened to the public and remains busy, as residents cleaned up their yards from the storm,” he said.
Doyle noted restaurants and grocery stores that have been able to open over the past couple days have been “very busy.”
The Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre remains open for residents, as he described, “wishing warmth, a hot shower or a place to charge their device.”