Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's still recovering from storm

A blizzard that slammed eastern Newfoundland Friday, battering boats and destroying wharves, has taken a financial and emotional toll on people in St. John's.

A blizzard that slammed eastern Newfoundland Friday, battering boats and destroying wharves, has taken a financial and emotional toll on people in St. John's.

The storm dropped more than 50 centimetres of snow in some parts of the province. Winds of more than 100 kilometres per hour pushed eight-metre waves into the Quidi Vidi Village and Battery areas of St. John's.

Quidi Vidi resident Dick Gray fought back tears as he talked about how he tried to protect the wharf his father built 30 years ago.

"We kept it up; we shored it up — everything that needed to be done," Gray said. "But I guess nature and God ... no one knows at any given time what can happen with water."

Despite his hard work, the wharf was swept away. Gray also lost a boat, two motors and power tools, but he says it's the loss of his father's wharf that hurt the most.

"Sentimental, you never replace it," said Gray of the wharf. "It's stuff you got to carry on in your life, in your memories. It's something I had planned for the generations to pass down through, never to be sold."

Gray estimates it will cost $80,000 to replace everything lost in the storm.

Another Quidi Vidi resident said the high seas almost swallowed up his car.

"At about 8:30 p.m. Friday, I noticed water was going around the wheels, but at 10:30, it was floating. The car actually moved about 10 inches," said Pat Collins. "So, I got out and move it further up on the dock. It was not too exciting to see a car floating."

The Battery area of St. John's at the entrance of the city's harbour was also hit hard by the storm.

"This is the worst storm in 30 years," said Ches Sweetapple, as he surveyed the damage near his home on the Outer Battery.

Jack Wells Twine Shop, a draw for hundreds of cruise ship passengers every summer, was badly damaged by high waves. It's still not clear whether the building can be saved but Sweetapple says the historic wharfs and stages that survived the storm must be repaired.

"Just for tourism," said Sweetapple. "We've got to try and get something to make the place look better than what it is."

Despite a frightening Friday night, some residents said they are determined to stay.

"I love this place," said Battery resident Judy Adler. "I love living here. My son loves this place. I want to hand it on to my son, and I'm concerned, but I'm not giving up, and I hope the people on the Battery can get some help to try to protect this place."