Cleanup underway in Ottawa one week after powerful storm

·2 min read
Residents in Ottawa's Nepean neighbourhood continue cleaning up debris a week after a major windstorm swept through the area. (Rebecca Kwan/CBC - image credit)
Residents in Ottawa's Nepean neighbourhood continue cleaning up debris a week after a major windstorm swept through the area. (Rebecca Kwan/CBC - image credit)

Ottawa city officials, residents and volunteers are out this weekend, cleaning up debris one week after a major storm tore through the region.

The cleanup comes as roughly 16,000 customers are still without power in pockets of the city, according to a Hydro Ottawa update Saturday night.

So far, more than 162,000 homes have had power restored.

Hillary Faris, who lives in Nepean, said there Saturday there's been significant damage to her home, as a tree came though the kitchen ceiling and ended up resting on her countertop.

Faris said there's severe damage to the front corner of her house as well as its foundation.

"We don't really know the full extent yet," she said. "We've lived in this house now for 38 years and we've never experienced anything [like this]."

Rebecca Kwan/CBC
Rebecca Kwan/CBC

Simon Pierre Desjarlais, a master arborist with Arboris, Inc., says he's going to be busy for months, given the influx of requests coming from governments and private insurance companies.

The affected area is "very broad," he said.

"It's crazy … usually it's very localized," Desjarlais said.

Mayor says he empathizes

As the cleanup continues, many people continue to wait for electricity to be restored.

Shikharesh Majumdar, who lives in the Hunt Club neighbourhood, says he's disappointed it's taken Hydro Ottawa so long to get him connected to the grid again.

"Every night we hope that in the middle of the night the light will flash on," he siad. "So I keep the bedroom ceiling light on — that will be a nice surprise."

Natalia Goodwin/CBC
Natalia Goodwin/CBC

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he empathizes with people who are frustrated that they still don't have electricity a week after the storm.

"We thought we could get close to 99 per cent of the folks back up with electricity by [Friday] at midnight," he told CBC News Network on Saturday morning. " We didn't reach that goal … we're now at about 90 per cent."

Public works crews are clearing out debris so that hydro crews can get in, he added, calling it a tag-team approach. In the interim, city respite centres are staying open, he said.

The city is also asking people to volunteer this weekend to help with the cleanup.

While 90 per cent of people have their power back, Watson said many are still without internet service. He says he's trying to put some pressure on internet companies to get those connections restored.

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