New Brunswick

Leaders work to keep communities safe after ice storm batters N.B.

Mayors, fire chiefs and other community leaders spent long hours Wednesday making sure their communities were safe and residents were kept up to date on developments with power restoration.

Many still waiting for power to be restored

Damage caused by Wednesday's ice storm in Moncton. (NB Power)

Mayors, fire chiefs and other community leaders in New Brunswick spent long hours Wednesday making sure their communities were safe and residents were kept up to date on developments with power restoration.

Shediac Mayor Jacques LeBlanc said they implemented their emergency strategy and opened their multi-purpose centre for those who needed a warm meal and hot drink.

"We are trying to make sure that the people that are the most vulnerable, like seniors in apartment complexes, to make sure that NB Power establishes power to those areas first before we go to the general area."

LeBlanc said if there was one positive it was that temperatures stayed above the freezing mark. 

Sackville fire Chief Craig Bowser said they were monitoring the number of power outages closely and working with the Emergency Measures Organization to make sure residents in that town were fine. 

He added, like other areas, there were lots of downed trees and branches.

"There will be lots of cleanup when this is all over." 

Worried for seniors

When contacted early Wednesday, Salisbury Mayor Terry Keating said he was headed into a meeting with council, the fire department and EMO representatives to establish a plan of how to deal with things if the power remained out for a long period of time. 

"We're concerned about seniors tonight if the power does not come back on." 

In Port Elgin, community leaders were concerned about the village's water supply as they are on a water tower system that's gravity based. If it gets below a certain level then there's no pressure.

A tree froze during Tuesday night's storm, which brought ice pellets, frozen rain and flurries to much of New Brunswick. (Viola Pruss/CBC)

The local EMO representative told CBC there was an estimated 73 feet remaining in the system and it could be used up in three days. 

In Miramichi, Mayor Adam Lordon and council worked closely with the police department, public works and city staff to develop a plan to keep the city operational after 17,000 people were left without power in the region. 

Lordon urged city residents to conserve water.

"Unfortunately, a lot of our city's wells depend on that power so we're asking our residents at this time to conserve water."

In Norton, N.B., residents were waiting for power to be restored. Evelyn Sivret, the co-owner and manager of Bear's Bar and Grill had to turn away customers as she waited for hydro to be restored.  ​

"People still think we can be open because we have propane, but we have no water, no hydro to light it up with."

Trees pretty, but dangerous

Catherine Beckingham was dealing with a tree that came down on top of her car. 

"This tree that has been up against our house for 30 years."

"With an ice storm it's almost inevitable that you're going to have a power outage," so she said with the forecast in mind, she was preparing. "There was water going into the tub, you know to save water."

Russell Webster said he was keeping a close eye on the temperature.

"Either you have ornamental trees or you have hydro," he said about people complaining about trees. "And which is the best?

"I'd far sooner have power, because you haven't got water or anything if you haven't got power." 

NB Power crews continued to restore power after the ice storm swept across the province Tuesday night, leaving 130,000 customers in the dark.

NB Power said it is bringing in additional crews to respond to the outages, which were the result of high winds and falling trees, as well as ice build-up on transmission and electricity lines. 

With files from Jordan Gill, Matthew Bingley