Top News

St. John's Mayor Danny Breen says too early for debrief on state of emergency

Mayor Danny Breen says more than 4,000 truckloads of snow have been cleared from St. John's since last week's blizzard. JOE GIBBONS/THE TELEGRAM
City of St. John's Mayor Danny Breen. - SaltWire File Photo

Businesses can expect interest relief by week’s end

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

St. John’s Coun. Hope Jamieson said she’s looking forward to a debriefing about the state of emergency, “but not now,” she laughed during the regular city council meeting Monday evening.

It was the first council meeting since the city was under a state of emergency for more than a week, but Jamieson said everyone needs a rest.

The question of when the city will engage in such a debriefing remains to be seen.

Mayor Danny Breen said the focus is still on getting the streets and sidewalks cleared of snow.

While most councillors used some of their time during the go-around Monday evening to commend one another and city staff on their work during the state of emergency, Coun. Wally Collins admitted “we might have made a couple of mistakes.”

When asked during a media scrum about any takeaways from the state of emergency, Breen said, “It’s really too early to do that.”

An ambulance with flashing lights in central St. John's last Sunday, two days after the record-breaking blizzard. - SaltWire File Photo
An ambulance with flashing lights in central St. John's last Sunday, two days after the record-breaking blizzard. - SaltWire File Photo


He said there’s still a lot of work left to do.

“We’re concentrated on getting the city back to normal, and that’s really our focus now. We’ll have time at the end of it to look back at the whole thing, do debriefings within city hall and with our staff, and then have a look at some of the issues that we’ll have to address.”

Breen said it’s also too early to say what the extra snowclearing efforts are costing the city.

“I know that we just have the work to do, and the cost, we’ll look at that after the fact, and we’ll also go back to the federal government and provincial government then to see what kind of programs are there to help us offset some of those additional costs.”

Breen said city crews are making good progress with snowclearing. He said 50 to 60 per cent of the city’s roads are now cleared, but work is stil underway to return residential streets and Priority3 areas to two-way traffic.


So far, Breen estimates there’s been roughly 5,000 dump truck loads of snow dumped into the harbour.

Meanwhile, Coun. Dave Lane spoke about supporting local businesses after the lengthy state of emergency. He said there are two ways the city will show its support.

First, businesses have an additional two weeks to claim a vacancy allowance.

Second, Lane said he hopes to announce some form of interest relief for businesses by the end of this week.

Provincial emergency centre closes

While the city remains focused on cleaning up, the provincial government is clewing up.

The provincial emergency operations centre begins shutdown on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

That means the emergency operations centre phone number (729-3709) will no longer take calls for assistance related to the Jan. 17 snowstorm. The line will continue to be used for after-hours assistance for emergency management organizations.

The temporary Canadian Red Cross phone line is also concluded.

In a news release on Monday, the provincial government said residents should contact their municipality or normal service provider if they require information or assistance with municipal services.

“As life begins to get back to normal for those affected by the storm, residents are encouraged to prepare for more winter weather,” reads the news release.

The province said people can find preparation tips online at

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

Recent Stories