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City of Peterborough declares state of emergency following Saturday’s storm

Mature trees uprooted and snapped along Graham Ave. in Peterborough's south end. Mark Giunta/Global News

The City of Peterborough, Ont., has declared a state of emergency after Saturday’s historic storm and derecho that left thousands without power for days across the region.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), the emergency management team and I submitted declaration of state of emergency to the province,” Mayor Diane Therrien tweeted.

Read more: Environment Canada confirms EF-2 tornado formed in Uxbridge, Ont.

“Having the emergency declaration is something municipalities consider when they’ve exhausted their local capacity to deal with something like this.  It gives us more ability to be nimble to make decisions and navigate around our traditional procurement bylaws if we to access additional vehicles and materials,” Therrien told Global News Peterborough on Wednesday.

“Hopefully it puts some pressure on senior levels of government to step up and help out.

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“The emergency group has been meeting since Saturday and we’ve met a dozen times.  There had been discussion about it (declaring the emergency).  Yesterday, I decided it was time to pull the trigger and I have the authority to do that.  We’ve been working really hard and Hydro One has been working hard, but there’s a lot of obstacles to overcome, so we really need all the tools we can get.”

Because of the severity of the storm and the widespread damage to trees and homes, as well as power lines and poles across the area, the city is asking residents to avoid all unnecessary travel.

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“The storm is causing extreme pressure on City of Peterborough public works, forestry, and waste collection services. Crews are doing their best to address storm damage and respond to the increased volume of material,” the city stated on its website.

“City crews are prioritizing requests for service related to downed trees along streets and sidewalks. With the extent of the damage, there is a significant backlog. Residents are asked to refrain from calling more than once to report a location. Requests are logged and prioritized.”

“The municipality being able to deal with this will help residents.  (The declaration) is targeted to help the municipality access what it needs to to move through the disaster period we’re in,” Therrien added.

For waste collection periods of May 24-27 and May 31-June 3, the city is adjusting its garbage collection guidelines to allow an extra bag or one extra garbage can (lift) for each household, which increases the limit from two to three to accommodate the disposal of spoiled food.

A lift is qualified as one plastic garbage bag, no greater than 66 cm by 80 cm and a maximum of 23 kg or 50 lbs in weight, or one garbage can, no greater than 125 litres with side handles and a lid and 23 kg or 50 lbs in weight, or one item less than one metre in length and 23 kg or 50 lbs in weight.

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Garbage can also be taken directly to the Bensfort Road landfill site.

There is no limit to the quantity of green waste than can be placed at the curb, however it must be put out within guidelines on sizes and weights to allow crews to handle the materials.

Collections may be delayed due to the high amounts of materials.

Click to play video: 'Peterborough Public Health Inspector advises residents not to taste test refrigerated and frozen foods after a power outage' Peterborough Public Health Inspector advises residents not to taste test refrigerated and frozen foods after a power outage
Peterborough Public Health Inspector advises residents not to taste test refrigerated and frozen foods after a power outage – May 25, 2022

Green waste includes brush, branches, hedge and tree trimmings, grass clippings, leaves, house and garden plants, trimmings, and small quantities of sod.

All brush and branches must be tied in bundles up to one metre in length and 30 cm in diameter, weighing no more than 23 kg or 50 lbs.

Stumps, soil and stones are not accepted.

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Green waste can also be disposed of at the landfill site for a fee of $7 for 100 kg or less or $95 per tonne for the entire load.

Social services will offer in-person service at its office on Charlotte Street on Wednesday for emergency basic needs assistance for clients.

For all other inquiries, clients should contact their case workers by phone or email.

Peterborough Transit is operating regular service.

For anyone needing access  to showers, the city is providing access at Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre, Healthy Planet Arena and Kinsmen Civic Centre from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

Individuals must ask to use the showers to get get access to the amenities at the facilities, the city states.

For those looking to charge electronic devices and electronic mobility aids, you can go the Peterborough Public Library from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Healthy Planet Arena from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Peterborough Museum and Archives from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Locations of downed trees on streets and public boulevards can be reported online at peterborough.ca/reportanissue or by calling 705-745-1386.

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Click to play video: 'Thousands of Peterborough region residents impacted by the weekend storm' Thousands of Peterborough region residents impacted by the weekend storm
Thousands of Peterborough region residents impacted by the weekend storm – May 24, 2022

 

Outside of the city, several townships including Douro-Dummer, Cavan Monaghan and North Kawartha declared a state of emergency, while Asphodel-Norwood and Havelock-Belmont-Methuen declared significant weather events.

“That (the state of emergency declaration) was done to spotlight the devastation that has gone on,” Douro-Dummer mayor and Peterborough County warden J. Murray Jones told Global News on Tuesday.

“This is one of the worst things I have ever remembering happening in Peterborough County and Douro-Dummer.”

Jones said the township declared the state of emergency “right away” as a gesture to point out the severity of what happened.

“It also helps out down the road, if you need government assistance. It’s a terrible mess out there.”

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All county roads have since reopened.

“We had some road closures over the weekend, but all county roads are passable.  Bear in mind, there are some roads in the townships that aren’t open yet.  Please be patient and drive slowly and treat all traffic lights that aren’t working as four-way stops,” said county CAO Sheridan Graham.

The power remains out for thousands of residents in pockets in the city and the county.

To report a downed power line, call Hydro One at 1-800-434-1235 or report it online at hydroone.com.

Customers can report an outage by texting 92887 (WATTS), online at hydroone.com, through the Hydro One app or by calling 1-800-434-1235.

Customers can also view the current status of their outage here.

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