As Cape Bretoners attempt to get life back to normal after their communities were devastated by a Thanksgiving weekend storm, students at one elementary school will be out of the classroom for at least the rest of the week.
The region was hounded by high winds and more than 200 millimetres of rain over the long weekend, causing extensive flooding and damage in many communities.
Students at Brookland Elementary School in Sydney have the rest of the week off, while students at other schools across Cape Breton Regional Municipality returned to class Thursday.
Brookland Elementary was severely damaged by Monday’s flooding, and the full extent of the damage to the inside of the school is still unknown.
Plans are being finalized to move students to other schools until cleanup and repair work can be done on the school.
There is no estimate of the cost of repairs, or when the school may reopen.
Crews continue work to restore power
At the height of the storm, there were about 180,000 people without electricity across Nova Scotia, many of them in Cape Breton.
Crews from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have been working hard to restore power to everyone affected, and expect to have all customers out of the dark by Friday.
While power crews were working to restore main power, smaller companies were also doing what they could to help residents affected by the flooding.
Kameron Coal provided generators and lights overnight in the hardest hit areas of Sydney, in an attempt to give a feeling of safety to homeowners without power.
Municipal Affairs Minister Zach Churchill said Thursday the government would do “whatever we can” to help the residents of Cape Breton get back on their feet.
“At this point we’re assessing what the needs are of that community,” Churchill said, adding he anticipates getting federal relief funding as well.
“The threshold for that is about $3 million in need, we don’t know that for sure, but it looks like it’s going to get to that level.”
Echoing Churchill, Premier Stephen McNeil said they’re “looking forward for the national government to be on the ground” to get a sense of the level of damage, before moving on to talk numbers.
In a statement from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office, spokesperson Scott Bardsley said “any requests for federal assistance will be handled without delay.”
Bardsley said talks are already underway between the feds and the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, adding that “the Government of Canada stands ready to assist Nova Scotia, should assistance be formally requested.”
The Disaster Financial Assistance Agreements are in place to help provinces in recovery and response efforts after large natural disasters that cause more destruction and damage than a province could deal with on its own.
“The level of federal support increases with the severity of the damage to up to 90 per cent,” the statement reads.