No timeline for Renfrew County to get power back after storm

Greater Madawaska, Ont. –

As Ottawa works to clean up and get power back on following Saturday’s storm, residents in southern Renfrew County have no indication when they will get power back.

The communities of Griffith and Matawatchan, about two hours west of Ottawa, have been without power since Saturday afternoon. One of their main roads, Centennial Lake Road, is closed to due downed trees and power lines, with countless more trees hanging from lines above roadways.

“They were very severely hit with this storm,” says Greater Madawaska Township mayor Brian Hunt.

Like many communities hit by Saturday’s storm, local residents are without power. The difference in Griffith and Matawatchan is there is no indication when crew will even arrive to assess and then repair the damage.

“Hydro is assessing when they will get in, so we expect their power to be out for a very long time.”

On Sunday, the township declared a state of emergency to assist in the clean up and rebuilding.

“It certainly gives us access to, perhaps to funding that will help with the clean up,” says Hunt. “It’s going to be a major burden on the taxpayer if it is left here.”

Matawatchan resident Dean Gillard returned home Sunday to find his property in shambles.

“I probably have about 30 trees down,” Gillard says, adding it will take years to clear.

Gillard is currently living off a generator. He says a full tank of fuel in it can last him a day. He’s preparing to live with that reality for the long haul.

“I have no hydro because my line is down so I have to rebuild,” says Gillard, pointing to his destroyed hydro pole in his front yard. “So, I could be without hydro for three or four weeks.”

Around the corner, cottage owner Dave Bagshaw was sheltering inside when the storm hit.

“There was a ton of noise and you didn’t know what it was,” Bagshaw recalls. “There was a lot of banging and it was obviously the trees landing on my roof.”

The St. Catharines resident was visiting his cottage for the May long weekend, but now plans to stay indefinitely until he can remove the three or four trees laying on his roof.

“I want to get these trees off the roof because they are dangerous and there’s a couple suspended trees that are hanging dangerously too,” he says.

Hunt says, of the 5,000 residents that live in Greater Madawaska Township, roughly one third of them will be without power for the foreseeable future.

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