Storm Arthur power outages push people into UNB dorms
With most Fredericton hotels booked, some turn to UNB residences for accommodations
With thousands of New Brunswickers still waiting for their power to be restored one week after post-tropical storm Arthur and many hotels already fully booked, some people have been turning to university residences.
"We're up about maybe 40 per cent over this time last year with people just needing accommodations," she said.
Hans Rieekko, who is in town for a conference, is among them.
"All of a sudden, I'm on my way to Fredericton and I get this email saying that [my] hotel will be closing because [it has] no power. 'You need to find other accommodations, please try the University of New Brunswick,'" he said.
The rooms don't offer the luxury of the hotel, but they have bedding and bath amenities, and some are equipped with a full kitchen.
Most importantly, they have electricity.
"It brings back a lot of memories of first year university," said Rieekko.
Hotels in the Fredericton area weren't able to accommodate all the people looking for a place to stay after they lost power last weekend during the storm.
"It's been a little chaotic," said Geoff Gallant, manager of the Crowne Plaza Fredericton-Lord Beaverbrook.
In addition to offering people affected by the storm a place to eat and to shower, it has also been offering a special room rate.
But it has been forced to turn some people away due to summer reservations. "We were essentially sold out from Saturday. And we're sold out the next two weeks," said Gallant.
Once hotels were full, they began referring customers to the university, said McNeil.
"Over the weekend, I think all the front desks across the city, the staff were all calling each other to see if they had rooms available because there were so many people that were looking for spaces to stay," she said.
The UNB residences are also housing crews that have been brought in to help restore power in the Fredericton area, said McNeil.
NB Power has said it hopes to have 95 per cent of its customers back online by Sunday and 99 per cent by Tuesday.