Trudeau in Halifax to survey Dorian damage, over 100,000 still without power – The Weather Network

Trudeau in Halifax to survey Dorian damage, over 100,000 still without power - The Weather Network
Days without power: Over 100,000 outages persist in Maritimes after Dorian
PreviousNextHide captionToggle Fullscreen1 of 0 commentsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan were in Halifax on Tuesday, three days after power storm Dorian blasted through the Maritimes where tens of thousands of homes and businesses are still without power. 

The politicians were observing recovery efforts by military personnel, government officials and the corporation that provides power to Nova Scotians, and they also surveyed the cleanup and met residents.

Dorian approached the region as a Category 2 hurricane and made landfall near Halifax on Saturday evening as a post-tropical storm with hurricane-strength winds.

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As of 5 p.m. AT, fallen trees and power lines remained on roads, leaving more than 88,000 Nova Scotia Power customers in the dark.

“No one wants a natural disaster to happen but certainly if one does happen, our men and women really want to contribute and be a part of the solution. We are an effects-driven organization and we want to get in there and get our hands dirty to clean up the issue. When these things happen, whether it’s the hurricane here or the floods in New Brunswick and Ontario or wildfires out west, we have (personnel) lining up, waiting to get out there and do the business. We take a lot of pride in helping our neighbours, our friends and family trying to dig out from these issues and hopefully to restore a sense of normalcy in short order.”

Video: Hurricane Dorian: Canadian ministers visit areas impacted by hurricane

Also at that time, in Prince Edward Island, 15,000 customers were without power, and in New Brunswick, the number was 1,200.

“We don’t know at this point,” he said. “Right now, it is focused on performing those tasks. Once the province’s EMO looks at the situation and decides that provincial resources are primary here and that they can now handle the remaining elements, they will give us the high five and say that we’re now clear from it. Our intent is to stay as long as we are needed.”

"We're pleased with the progress," Nova Scotia Power president Karen Hutt told CBC's Information Morning on Tuesday. 

“We are out there now trying to clear the debris off the roads and other areas to try to get the power crews in to reconnect the grid,” Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens said of the 300 soldiers on the ground Monday from 4 Engineering Support Regiment based in CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick and from the 36 Brigade of local reserve soldiers.

Dorians impact: Maritimers complain about cellphone service failure

The company planned to cut the outages in half from Tuesday morning to the end of the day, she said.  

Amid widespread cellphone outages, Goodale said access to reliable telecommunications is critical and something the federal Liberal government plans to address. 

The military might, including 50 additional reserve soldiers from 37 Brigade in Moncton expected to arrive Monday afternoon, have been showing up as self-sufficient units with equipment and military-grade vehicles like trucks and light-armoured vehicles to both transport troops around and to assist in the clearance.

Likely Next Week Before Power is Fully Restored Across Nova Scotia, says NS Power CEO

People concerned by cell outages should alert the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, he said.

Owens said the province is lucky that construction and combat engineers from Gagetown were available in their rotation of duties to lend their expertise to the cleanup effort. The military machine kicked into gear, he said, when the province, through the minister of public safety, asked for military assistance.

Sajjan said, "The impact of climate change is having a drastic impact on our country from floods, to fires, to hurricane response. This is something that we need to be very mindful of as a nation and adjusting our response and more importantly, having the preventive measures in place."

“We have a great working relationship with the province and with HRM and EMO,” he said. “We started early dialogue to figure out what is the potential threat and what the potential impact could be. We started looking around to see who was available, what capabilities would we need.”

Halifax after Dorian: Did the city dodge a bullet?

On Tuesday, 380 troops, stationed in Yarmouth, Bridgewater, Amherst, Port Hawkesbury, Sydney and Halifax, continued to assist power crews in clearing trees and removing debris. And helping them were 70 reservists. 

The bulk of the military's efforts Tuesday were to be focused on Bridgewater, said Capt. Guillaume Lafrance, chief of staff for Joint Task Force Atlantic. 

As Day 3 of the recovery effort drew to a close, about 16,000 customers were waiting for reconnection in P.E.I., and about 1,000 in New Brunswick. However, more than 88,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were still without electricity Tuesday evening, and the company said it would be Thursday before everyone was reconnected.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil praised the restoration efforts of the privately owned power utility.

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Light armoured vehicles were spotted patrolling the streets as soldiers with chainsaws were ready to clear the streets of fallen trees. However, they were prevented from removing some trees because limbs were still tangled in power lines, which meant an electrician was needed to get the job done.

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Speaking Tuesday from a slightly damaged government wharf in Herring Cove, N.S., Goodale pledged financial support through disaster assistance programs, but he also made a point of urging fed-up cellphone users to take action, saying hes heard about their frustration "loud and clear."

HALIFAX — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and two federal cabinet ministers visited Halifax Tuesday to survey the damage caused by Dorian, the hurricane-strength post-tropical storm that slammed into the Maritimes on the weekend.

Goodale said cellphones have become essential tools for Canadians. "Its not just a frill thats nice to have," he said, adding that infrastructure across the country must be built to withstand the intense weather and "abnormal circumstances" caused by climate change.

Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan met with local officials and Canadian Forces representatives at a Halifax armoury for a briefing on relief efforts.

The prime minister said the federal government has closely monitored the storms impact throughout the region.

"Im here today to thank the first responders and all the people whove been working very, very hard on something that has been an ongoing effort over the past few days," he told reporters.

"I know crews have been working around the clock to restore power throughout Nova Scotia, and theres a lot more work to do, and the federal government is here to support in any way we can."

David Michaud of Halifax tweeted to the telecom reseller Koodo that if they wanted to be real heroes, “they would forgive mobile data usage in NS during hurricane #Dorian so people can check in on notices while their power is out. Just lost power in #Halifax along Bedford Highway.”

Goodale and Sajjan later visited Herring Cove, N.S., a coastal community south of Halifax near where Dorian made landfall on Saturday night.

Laing said customers can report downed lines, hazards or continued impacts to Eastlink service where power has been restored by calling 1-888-345-1111 and pressing option 1 to report downed lines or hazards or option 2 to report if their power is back but their Eastlink services are not.

As the storm approached the coastline, it lashed the area with driving rain and gusts reaching almost 150 kilometres per hour — approaching the power of a Category 2 hurricane.

There have been no reported injuries, but roofs were torn off and trees were snapped like twigs, pulling down power lines across a wide swath of the Maritimes.

At one point, more than 500,000 electricity consumers in the region were without power, representing 80 per cent of the homes and businesses in Nova Scotia and 75 per cent in Prince Edward Island.

A Koodo rep tweeted back that Koodo is considering the situation and reviewing the options, “and our customers will be notified if this procedure is implemented.”

In New Brunswick, about 80,000 homes and businesses — 20 per cent of NB Powers customers — were left in the dark at the height of the storm.

As the recovery effort entered Day 3, those numbers have dropped considerably. However, more than 100,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were still without electricity Tuesday morning, and the company said it would be Thursday before everyone is reconnected.

As the recovery effort entered Day 3, those numbers have dropped considerably. However, more than 100,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were still without electricity Tuesday morning, and the company said it would be Thursday before everyone is reconnected.

The company says it has found about 3,700 trees on power lines that stretch across 32,000 kilometres, and repairs are being made to 300 broken or leaning utility poles.

Many schools across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were closed Monday, and emergency officials have been urging people to stay home for their own safety and to give cleanup crews the room they need to work.

As well, about 4,500 outages across Nova Scotia represent individual customers, which means one repair will bring electricity back to only one customer.

Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan are scheduled to meet with local officials and Armed Force representatives at a Halifax armoury for a briefing on relief efforts.

During a news conference Tuesday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said teams were working to restore power, phone and cell phone service.

At one point, more than 500,000 electricity consumers in the region were without power, representing 80 per cent of the homes and businesses in Nova Scotia and 75 per cent in Prince Edward Island.

"I think its fair (to say) that all Nova Scotians have not seen a weather event like this for quite some time. The physical infrastructure damage from one end of the province to the other is unprecedented," McNeil said. "Everyone is working to best ability to restore that power as quickly as possible, to restore telecommunications as quickly possible."

The premier assured that a post-mortem would be conducted to see what went right with the storm response and what went wrong.

He said he understands the frustration of those still waiting for power to be restored. Nova Scotia Power CEO Karen Hutt said she hopes the number of customers still without power would be cut in half by Wednesday and eliminated by Thursday.

A Canadian Forces representative said troops have accomplished tasks in the greater Halifax area and will now extend their mission to elsewhere in the province.

Capt. Guillaume Lafrance, chief of staff, Joint Task Force Atlantic, said the 380 assigned troops will be augmented by 70 reservists from Nova Scotia, bringing the total number of troops to 450.

"Our next objective is to really spread throughout Nova Scotia to help out the entirety of the province," he said.

Light armoured vehicles were spotted patrolling the streets as soldiers with chainsaws were ready to clear the streets of fallen trees. However, they were prevented from removing some trees because limbs were still tangled in power lines, which meant an electrician was needed to ensure safety.

In Halifax, experts were brought in to see how a crane that toppled at the height of the storm could be taken down safely.

Many schools across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were closed Monday, and emergency officials have been urging people to stay home for their own safety and to give cleanup crews the room they need to work.

Members of the 4 Engineer Support Regiment from Camp Gagetown assist in the cleanup in Halifax on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A street is blocked by fallen trees in Halifax on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan