'It's just devastating to see': Rural communities slow to rebuild after storm

·3 min read
A vehicle remains stuck under a tree at Brown's Park campground in Cloyne, Ont. (Kim Brown/Submitted by Lisa Martin - image credit)
A vehicle remains stuck under a tree at Brown's Park campground in Cloyne, Ont. (Kim Brown/Submitted by Lisa Martin - image credit)

In some places two hours southwest of Ottawa the debris and downed trees from the derecho storm are still exactly where the storm left them more than two weeks ago.

Dozens of trailers remain squashed under massive trees, vehicles are crushed and stuck in the forest, and some people still don't have access to power.

"I feel like we got really the brunt of the storm here," said Lisa Martin, a co-owner of Brown's Park, a trailer campground in Cloyne, Ont.

She said a section of the park was completely destroyed and "21 trailers are probably going to have to be replaced," adding that part of the park will never be the same.

"People are used to camping over there in this beautiful old growth pine forest. And now it's just going to be … barren."

Martin says the experience so far with insurance and their contractors have been positive. She attributes the delay in cleanup to the "extreme devastation of this storm." Adding an arborist is expected there Monday to begin the massive cleanup.

"It was just a miracle [that] nobody was hurt."


Still without power in North Frontenac 

"Two weeks later, we still have quite a few people still without power," said North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins. He says some people won't get access to the grid until the end of June, while others will have to wait until August.

Submitted by Ron Higgins
Submitted by Ron Higgins

"[The storm] just took out a whole lot of hydro poles and other lines with it. It was just like a domino effect… 70 poles were snapped," he recalls.

According to Hydro One, some customers in rural, remote and island locations will be "without power for several more weeks due to the extraordinary level of damage."

Higgins says the process to replace the damaged hydro poles will take a while.

"Some of the poles have to come in by helicopter because of the remoteness of some of the areas," he added.

In the meantime, he is focusing on cleanup in the township.

"We have a lot of trees that are still hanging against other trees or the tops of them are broken and they are ready to fall. So we have a lot of dangerous trees along our roads that we still have to clean up."

Kim Brown/Submitted by Lisa Martin
Kim Brown/Submitted by Lisa Martin

'The storm has emptied the town'

Bon Echo provincial park will remain closed until at least June 12 after it "received significant damage throughout the entire park."

The closure is impacting small businesses in the area that thrive on the park-goers says Stephanie Regent, owner of Finnegan's General Store in Cloyne. She says the storm has set the town "back several weeks."

"This is a tourist town and we have no tourists," she told CBC. "Our summers keep us alive in the winter."

"Anybody that's got a little business in this town, it has pushed them back. And the really important part of that is, all these businesses, they are family owned, they're family run, and they're independent businesses."

Submitted by Stephanie Regent
Submitted by Stephanie Regent

There has been a silver lining, says Regent, the town and its people have never been so supportive of one another.

"We've probably spent more time just chatting with people in the store in the last two weeks than we normally would at this time, because normally it would be too busy for that," she gushed with pride.

"We have had so much love from the community and the ones who have been helping us the last two weeks."

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