Residents of two remote communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island say they are running out of food and fuel after the power was cut off days ago in a winter storm.
BC Hydro crews have been working to restore electricity to the communities of Tahsis and Zeballos, and say major repairs may be completed by Sunday.
Sean McInroy, who lives in Tahsis, said the city has been without power since Tuesday.
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“We are in a serious situation. The city has run out of fuel now, we have no propane, there is no fuel for campfires, no candles left, no milk, no eggs,” he told Global News on Friday.
McInroy said many in the community are seniors and that a number of residents do not have generators or camp ovens to heat their homes or cook hot food or beverages.
“It’s definitely a bit of a pickle to be in, especially those who are not as prepared as us,” he said.
“But even us, we’ve had a lot of costs. We’ve probably spent more on gasoline, campfire fuel, butane and propane than we would have spent on a full year of hydropower, just to try to heat the house.”
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The only way in and out of the community is to travel dangerously due to ice, snow and steep climbs, he added.
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In a statement posted on Twitter Friday night, BC Hydro’s President and CEO Chris O’Reily thanked residents for their patience and said the crews face a “special challenge” in restoring power to Tahsis and Zeballos.
“Several major structures were damaged on this line – due to its remote location, helicopter support is needed to complete repairs, and our crews have been at the mercy of weather windows to fly safely, all while handling snow that is shoulder-deep in some areas,” he said.
“At this point, we hope major repairs to the line will be completed by Sunday. Once the repairs are complete, we can begin reactivating the cord, but further work may be needed to fully restore power.”
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The Strathcona Regional District opened an emergency operations center on Wednesday to coordinate the delivery of essential goods and life-security services and has established heating centers in Tahsis, Zeballos and Nuchatlaht First Nation.
In a Saturday update, it said 11 people were sleeping in a hot tub in Tahsis with cribs, blankets, food, wireless internet and cell phone charging, and that it had provided enough food to last until “the beginning of next week.”
The district said Saturday that crews had also delivered 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel and that emergency medical transportation was handled by the Canadian Coast Guard in situations where ambulances could not cope with the trip.
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