State of emergency ends for Tseshaht First Nation

Only two homes left without power after windstorm

A commercial building on Hector Road was damaged by a fallen tree during Thursday’s windstorm. PHOTO COURTESY HUGH BRAKER

A commercial building on Hector Road was damaged by a fallen tree during Thursday’s windstorm. PHOTO COURTESY HUGH BRAKER

A state of emergency that was declared by Tseshaht First Nation during Thursday’s storm was lifted on Sunday afternoon.

READ: Tseshaht First Nation declares state of emergency as storm hits

READ: Highway 4 reopens between Qualicum and west coast

Hugh Braker, Tseshaht councillor and chair of the emergency preparedness committee, said on Monday morning that only two homes on the Tseshaht reserve are currently without power.

“Most were returned yesterday or the day before,” he said.

One commercial building was damaged by a falling tree, while another home caught fire shortly after power was returned this weekend. Braker estimates up to another $50,000 in damage from trees falling on electrial wires.

“We had four roads closed for various lengths of time,” he explained, mostly due to fallen trees and power lines.

Although a number of homeowners along the Somass River had water pooled in their yards, the river never came up high enough to cause significant flooding. Braker called this “fortunate.”

“We experience flooding every year, and it’s been getting worse and worse every year,” he said. “It’s very unusual that the EOC is activated over a windstorm.”

Tseshaht First Nation opened an emergency operation centre in the administration building, offering hot drinks and snacks. Approximately 10 families were put up in local hotels—mostly families taking care of infants, the elderly or those with medical conditions.

“We had one woman come in from Tofino. She had a seven-day-old baby,” Braker said. “She was quite desperate to find warmth for her infant.”

Braker said finding shelter was made complicated because of the World Juniors hockey games taking place in town. Every hotel in town was “booked solid” on the first night of the outages, although a few rooms were found on the second night.

“This is probably the worst windstorm we’ve had in the past 25 to 30 years,” Braker explained. “We had a windstorm about six years ago that knocked over some trees, but not the widespread damage that we saw this time. This is the worst in a long time.”

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com