Nova Scotia

Pictou County dealing with heavy damage from Fiona

It's been a hard few days in Pictou County in the wake of Fiona. Destruction in the county includes trees toppled over homes, shingles ripped off the roofs, and a porpoise washed ashore.

Residents face extensive power outages, communication struggles, gas shortages

Fiona made a mess out of the road to Big Island, N.S. (Submitted by Lynn Arsenault)

It's been a hard few days in Pictou County, N.S., in the wake of Fiona.

Destruction in the county includes trees toppled over homes, shingles ripped off the roofs, and a porpoise washed ashore.

The road to Pictou Landing First Nation is littered with fallen poles and trees. The community's school has a generator and is one of the few places that had power Tuesday, and people were using it to serve up hot meals. 

Todd Felix was helping prepare breakfast. Normally, he'd be teaching in the school.

"This community is very welcoming. I'm originally from Qalipu First Nation in Newfoundland and I love this community," he said. "We're helping each other out."

They're feeding about 90 people each meal.

A family enjoys a meal at the Pictou Landing school. The school has a generator, but the rest of the community was without electricity Tuesday. (CBC)

Chainsaws roared across much of the rest of Pictou County as neighbours cut each other out of a tree-strewn mess. 

Dane Grant and his son, Owen, said it was "quite a doozy" of a storm on Caribou Island. "My property is devastated," Dane Grant said. "I'll be a good long while with the cleanup. Hopefully my friends can come and give me a hand."

They've also been helping older people on the island.

"The next storm is not going to be as bad, because all the trees are not here," Owen noted.

The financial cost of the repair will be hard, Dane Grant said. They were without power on Tuesday and expected it to be some time before they get it back.

Owen Grant and his dad, Dane, helped neighbours out after the storm before starting to clean up their own devastated property. (CBC)

Pictou Lodge, a waterfront resort, had roofs blown off and power lines toppled. Kate Surrett is the general manager. She said they were able to get all the guests out before the storm.

"I stayed here on site and it was pretty intense," she said. "In the morning I walked out to total devastation. It's quite sad."

The 100-year-old cottages lost porches and the newer units lost roofs and suffered water damage. She said the dining room suffered major damage, including to the range hood. Repairing and replacing it all could take a while, she said.

They had to cancel all the scheduled events for the end of the season, including weddings. They hope to be reopened by spring.

Pictou Lodge suffered extensive damage, with roofs blown off and power lines down. They've cancelled all bookings for now. (Robert Short/CBC)

Gas running out at some stations

Dallas Greene owns a roofing company in New Glasgow. He needs gas to help repair roofs around the county.

Greene said he waited for more than an hour on Monday at a gas station in Merigomish in hopes of getting gas before the station ran out.

Vehicles line up to get gas at the LBR gas station in Merigomish on Monday . (Robert Short/CBC)

"I was just told there was only 500 litres left so we might not even get gas," Greene said while waiting in a long queue of cars.

"There's a few gas stations that are out now and if they are open there are crazy lineups. My buddy waited for six hours yesterday."

Joann Mason works at the station. They have been using generators to pump gas.  She said people from all over the region have been using their pumps.

"I got one call today saying he was two hours away, people are coming from Antigonish, New Glasgow," Mason said.

"No one has gas."

Some New Glasgow residents feel forgotten

In New Glasgow, power lines, communication wires and street lights litter the sidewalks which has left a lot of the town  powerless. Some residents feel forgotten.

Destruction from Fiona has left a lot of New Glasgow without power. (Robert Short/CBC)

Cal Talbot is a senior living alone without power in New Glasgow. He is on a methadone program and is worried about power not coming back in time to get his next dose. 

"I imagine I'll probably have to go to the hospital because I'll be going into withdrawal," Talbot said.  "I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude, but I feel like we are kind of being left behind."

Talbot would like to have a hot meal with fellow community members. He lost all the food he received from a food bank.

"It's really tough on the mind when you're a senior living alone in the dark and no one is coming to visit or talk to you," Talbot said. 

Talbot heard the power should be restored by Thursday but hopes it's sooner.

Causeway damaged

Damage to a causeway from post-tropical storm Fiona caused headaches for Big Island, N.S.

The damage made the causeway linking Big Island to the mainland impassable to cars.

Big Island is a peninsula in Pictou County that is home to about 20 full-time residents. They were forced to use ATVs and boats to get fuel and food from the mainland.

Bryan Williams, the owner of Williams Heavy Hauling based in Pictou County, was contracted to clear the road of the rubble. 

WATCH | Military arrives in Nova Scotia to help with storm recovery

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Williams said the road has been washed over multiple times, but the destruction Fiona has is something he's never seen before in the county.

Williams said it was difficult for the Department of Transportation to contact him.

Williams says Hurricane Fiona is the worst storm he has seen in Pictou County. He has been putting in 12-hour days clearing debris. (Robert Short/CBC)

Someone from the Department of Transportation had to knock on his door to ask for his services because they couldn't reach him over the phone.

"We have no internet, no phones and no power anywhere in this area," Williams said. "There has been nothing. It's hard to do business, the DOT had to find me because they couldn't get a hold of us."

The road was expected to be cleared by late Monday or sometime Tuesday.

With files from Angela MacIvor and Tom Murphy

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