Hurricane hits hard, could have been worse

Power outages, downed trees and wires biggest concerns

By Helen Murphy    

GUYSBOROUGH – Many trees and wires are down throughout Guysborough County and the Eastern Shore this week following Hurricane Dorian passing through on the weekend, but property damage appears to be minimal. In some cases large trees had fortunate falls, narrowly missing homes and businesses.

Considerable damage was sustained at the Guysborough Marina, but many boats were saved by being moved out in the days before and the efforts of local volunteers to better secure the vessels that remained on Saturday.

Some nerve-wracking moments were had as the wind whipped up the harbour on Saturday afternoon and one of the finger piers disconnected from the main pier. Darrell Grant’s boat was tied to the smaller pier, and had to be quickly cut free and motored through the choppy waves to the calmer Boylston Harbour.

The right side of the marina took the most damage as winds shifted southerly later on Saturday.

“It’s severe,” said Paul Long of the Guysborough Waterfront Development Society on Monday morning. One of the marina’s two service docks is destroyed and one of the main piers has many loose boards.

“Luckily anchors that went in at the first of summer held and the main piers stayed in place,” he said. “I don’t think the main piers would be here right now if we didn’t have those.”

It’s too early to know if the main timbers of the marina are still secure, as well as the structure beneath the piers.

On Saturday volunteers with the Waterfront Development Society and other local residents came to help better secure vessels that stayed at the marina. In some cases, the high demand for trucks and trailers in the days leading up to the hurricane meant some boat owners weren’t able to get that help before conditions became too dangerous on Saturday.

A sailboat tied at the end of the pier was walked in to a safer location next to shore by volunteers holding ropes tight as the vessel was steered in between the two main piers.

“We really owe a big thank you to everyone who helped out,” said Long. “It was a community effort.”

The Waterfront Development Society will meet this week to discuss the damage and insurance matters. Long said the deductible on the insurance policy is around $10,000.

MODG estimated that approximately 2000 customers in the municipality were without power on Monday, with Tuesday afternoon’s estimate down to between 750 and 1000. The Chedabucto Lifestyle complex was made available to those affected for water, charging electronic devices and showers.

The District of St. Mary's was hit hard by power outages. As of Tuesday afternoon outages stretched from Moser River to Liscomb and from Port Hilford to Port Bickerton, plus small pockets of outages elsewhere. The municipal office had power back on Tuesday and gas was available at Sherbrooke garage.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Nova Scotia Power CEO Karen Hutt said about 100,000 customers still had no power across the province, with service having been restored to about 300,000 customers since the storm. The company’s efforts have been assisted by crews from outside the province and the Canadian Armed Forces.

An Armed Forces representative said 380 troops had been assigned to assist with the clean up, supported by some Nova Scotia Reservists.

Schools throughout the province were closed both Monday and Tuesday.