Light ahead for Bonavista, C.B.N.

Barb Sweet & James McLeod
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The lights are starting to come back on in Bonavista, and the Heart's Content-Baie de Verde areas.

An ice storm - the worst in 25 years, according to Newfoundland Power - plunged some of the province into darkness Friday evening.

As of press time, Newfoundland Power had restored the main connections to the Bonavista Peninsula, and were in the process of bringing the power back in.

The lights are starting to come back on in Bonavista, and the Heart's Content-Baie de Verde areas.

An ice storm - the worst in 25 years, according to Newfoundland Power - plunged some of the province into darkness Friday evening.

As of press time, Newfoundland Power had restored the main connections to the Bonavista Peninsula, and were in the process of bringing the power back in.

"We had seven of our main transmission lines affected as a result of the severe ice storm that came through the area from Friday into Sunday," said NL Power spokeswoman Michele Coughlan.

"There were over 250 poles and transmission line structures that were damaged, the majority of which actually came to the ground."

Bonavista Deputy Mayor Doug Robbins said people had been coping fairly well, and the only really tense moment was when the area lost telephone coverage for about 12 hours Saturday night.

"I've got to say people appreciate what light and power has done, what everybody is doing," Robbins said.

The Salvation Army has opened up its youth centre providing meals from lunchtime through the evening, and the Red Cross and the town have converted the school into an impromptu emergency centre.

Coughlan said as power comes back on, they're asking people to conserve as much as possible to avoid straining the system.

In the Heart's Content-Baie de Verde-Old area, NL Power officials were using local hydro and portable generation to provide rotating power.

About 1,000 customers were without consistent power; Coughlan said that service would likely be restored for most of those people today.

Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski said hospital staff have gone above and beyond in the face of the extensive outages.

Community hospitals in Old Perlican and Bonavista affected by the power outages have been running on emergency generator power.

"I just really want to say we're going to be formally recognizing the staff out there," she said. "They have been working under tremendously adverse conditions and I have to say they have done a great job. It's working really well and certainly they have responded really well. They have made an extreme effort to get the whole community safe and looked after at this time. It's one of the good news pieces coming out of Eastern Health in the next little while."

She said the staff, aided by firefighters, police, Red Cross and others have come to the aid of people who need medical help, such as home oxygen patients.

"There's been a sudden influx of people into an already stressed system," she said.

A reception centre has been set up for home oxygen patients to access power.

"That's not something you normally think about when you come into work," Kaminski said.

"You don't think about where you're going to put a home oxygen patient for three or four days."

jmcleod@thetelegram.com bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland Power, Red Cross, The Salvation Army

Geographic location: Bonavista, Eastern Health, Old Perlican

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