Visitor expected more from province during weekend storm

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Angela Veness of St. Martins, N.B., says she will think twice before vacationing on P.E.I. again.

Veness, 49, and a group of friends bought tickets to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival last fall and booked a tent site at Raceway Park in Oyster Bed Bridge, one of the sites associated with the festival.

They scrambled to seek shelter on Saturday as post tropical storm Arthur hammered the province, unable to make it through the night in a tent. Some who tented at Raceway Park found hotel rooms in Charlottetown.

Veness said the Comfort Inn in Charlottetown was booked but was helping tenters find other hotels. She said the Delta Prince Edward offered her a room at a substantial discount. Bob Boyle, who operates a seven-room hotel in Brackley, allowed his guests to take in others who were camping in tents.

By that time the storm was in full swing. Veness said she didn’t want to drive back to the city in that weather.

“We spent Saturday night sleeping in our cars,’’ Veness said Tuesday. “Many around us, their tents were completely destroyed and they had no shelter.’’

Veness spent the day calling a number of provincial government departments, asking why tenters were not offered shelter.

“We were looking for nothing other than a roof over our heads, not for communities to come and feed us. We were prepared with food. We weren’t looking for blankets, we brought that stuff with us. We just wanted shelter.’’

The province’s Office of Public Safety told The Guardian Tuesday that there is a graduated process for emergency management and response. Individuals, such as people, private businesses and corporations, are encouraged to take steps to prepare to sustain themselves and their families.

That graduated process indicates municipalities are expected to manage an emergency within its jurisdiction and if the demands exceed their capabilities, nearby communities may provide additional resources or personnel. The municipality also may request help from the Office of Public Safety.

This protocol also states that the province steps in when requested by local authorities.

“The province takes the safety of Islanders and its visitors very seriously,’’ a spokeswomen with public safety said in an email.

The P.E.I. branch of the Canadian Red Cross told The Guardian on Monday that a plan was in place but no request came from individuals or municipalities for help.

Kevin Power operates Raceway Park which was one of the sites people, who attended the festival, were able to set tents up.

“We got along quite well. We didn’t have a thing to worry about,’’ Power said Tuesday. “Mind you, I didn’t enjoy that weather.”

Power said his site never lost power and had a generator on hand to keep his facilities, such as restrooms, operating for the tenters.

Power said campers at Raceway Park seemed to be entertaining themselves and said that if anything did happen he had four security people on site who had medical training.

Tourism Minister Robert Henderson said once a weather warning is issued information is sent from the Office of Public Safety to all provincially-run and all private campground operators.

“We ask that they share the information with guests,’’ Henderson said. “At provincial campgrounds, we offer refunds to anyone who pre-booked nights they are not going to use because of weather.

“We direct anyone who does not want to camp, but wants to stay on the Island, to our visitor information centres where staff will happily assist them to find roofed accommodations (and) that was exactly the protocol we followed this weekend. We assisted dozens of visitors at locations across the Island.’’

Veness said no one reached out to her group.

“They did not check on people,’’ Veness said of Raceway Park. “They didn’t come through to see if we needed help with anything. A gentleman who was camping further down and had a travel trailer was going site to site checking on every single individual. He said ‘I don’t have much but if you need anything please come down or if you’re scared or you have no shelter. We’ll take in as many as we can’.

Veness said that job should have fallen to the province’s Office of Public Safety.

“I feel like the Island let people down. (P.E.I.) is know for its tourists . . . they were absolutely pathetic in their lack of care about what was happening to people in tents.’’

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Recent comments

  • Baffled
    July 12, 2014 - 09:33

    This article baffles me. Why even print it?? We knew for days a storm was coming. It was ALL anyone talked about. You are a grown woman, why would you expect to be catered to. It sounds like the park had their hands full redirecting and assisting other campers to make other accommodations. Campers who obviously took the initiative to step forward and say " hey can you help me find somewhere to stay?" Why would this woman assume that if she stayed put , someone was gonna come along and check on them? What an unrealistic expectation! From what I understood she has the opportunity to book at the delta, did she expect free accommodations? I certainly hope not

  • Islandproud
    July 10, 2014 - 16:06

    Everyone knew the storm was coming and those who slept in tents are no exception. They made that decision and I don't think it was the responsibility of anyone but themselves to make other arrangements. I have an idea! Why don't we STOP blaming everyone else and for once allow those who made the decision take the blame.

  • Blair
    July 10, 2014 - 15:45

    Why would our Island paper waste its time printing such an article?

  • Crystal
    July 10, 2014 - 13:39

    Jeez lady ..., did you expect PEI to roll out the red carpet for your visit? What a joke :(

  • Islander
    July 10, 2014 - 13:11

    The island doesn't need or want your company anyway, you self centered, petty, sook. Stay home next time. Or go to Quebec and then see what you have to complain about.

  • Tanya
    July 10, 2014 - 12:45

    Lame. That is all.

  • Lace
    July 10, 2014 - 12:07

    When you hear a storms coming why not pack your tent in your car with you like a sensible person? Then just unpack the next day. It was only raining over night so nuts to them. She was offered shelter she refused. So she lost some sleep. Go home. We don't need these type of tourists. Who decided this was newsworthy? I hope people spam her at home.

  • Arthur K. Storm
    July 09, 2014 - 22:54

    Dear Angela, here is a summary of your story...Me me me me me me me me me me poor me me me me me me me poor me me me me me me Poor're right, it would have been sooooooo much better in NB, just look at it now!

  • Islander at heart
    July 09, 2014 - 19:37

    ". they were absolutely pathetic in their lack of care about what was happening to people in tents.’" Seriously!!! I live in BC. Even out here we knew the East Coast was going to be hit with a storm. A little common sense goes a long way.Take some responsibility for yourself.

  • Wow
    July 09, 2014 - 13:18

    I cannoy believe the guardian wrote this article. Unless this traveller had no clue Arthur was coming (which would have been impossible unless they were tenting under a rock), there is no reason this person couldn't have been prepared for Arthur or taken the hotels up on their gracious offers. Nonsense!

  • Lorna Stewart
    July 09, 2014 - 13:17

    Did this lady not hear the weather advisory? It seems like she had plenty of good options but chose not to take them!

  • Michelle
    July 09, 2014 - 11:51

    I am disappointed that the newspaper even published this whiny nonsense! Really must have been a slow news day. Thousands with out power, homes damages and trees everywhere in NB and NS, but in PEI we give space to someone who didn't have enough sense to skip tenting when a major tropical storm was forcaste and then expected the government to give her a free holiday? Give me a break!

  • Sam from Ontario
    July 09, 2014 - 11:13

    Well I was visiting on the Island at the same time and took care of ourselves quite well. The storm was predictable and rather than put ourselves at risk we abandoned camping 2-days in advance for a Charlottetown hotel with underground parking. Stayed put and wrote off any activities Saturday and even Sunday expecting damage and Hydro outages. Others went home "before" the storm. Common sense should tell a person high winds and a tent are a poor mix so sometimes you have to be practical and adapt like some of the no-show performers did. Slept in a car many times and its normal in bad weather. The fact that people with Hard Shell campers/motor homes were comfortable tells me the Storm was manageable - It may cost a person money (concert refundable though) but being stubborn or foolish can cost a person more sometimes. We had nothing but concern and help from Islanders on our stay but ultimately, WE determine our own personal situation.

  • BA
    July 09, 2014 - 10:48

    Hello Tourist, if you don't like out weather, then be gone with you all, I Say!

  • really?
    July 09, 2014 - 10:48

    Boo hoo! You PAID to camp, you CHOSE to.come regardless of numerous forecasted warnings, you CHOSE to not opt for a hotel despite discounted offerings at various hotels. I have three small kids and had no power for 24 hrs and we did just fine. What about those who live out in the streets not by choice. They are forced to deal with situations like this everyday. At least you had a warm car to sleepin and a story to tell so stop your whining. Unreal that people are unable to put things into perspective before opening their mouths to complain.

  • Rita Hustler
    July 09, 2014 - 10:28

    I am quite sure you must have had a radio or something where they had warnings out for quite a few days. When I go tenting ( which I do a lot of) I don't expect government to give me shelter or anything. I listen to forecast and stay home if not sounding good

  • Dev
    July 09, 2014 - 09:56

    Not sure if this is about how nice islanders are, or how stupid she is.

  • kelly
    July 09, 2014 - 09:39

    i agree. sounds as though some tried to help you. why didn't you get a room at the delta for the discounted rate? i guess then you would have had nothing to bitch about. this storm was forecasted for days before it happened,maybe you should have tossed the tent and got a room like a sensible person.this article is so unbelievable, i cant believe they wrote it tbh.WOW talk about have your life which is more that i can say about others, and you are complaining you had to sleep in your car.shameful.

  • kelly
    July 09, 2014 - 09:39

    i agree. sounds as though some tried to help you. why didn't you get a room at the delta for the discounted rate? i guess then you would have had nothing to bitch about. this storm was forecasted for days before it happened,maybe you should have tossed the tent and got a room like a sensible person.this article is so unbelievable, i cant believe they wrote it tbh.WOW talk about have your life which is more that i can say about others, and you are complaining you had to sleep in your car.shameful.

  • Danielle
    July 09, 2014 - 09:31

    People like this piss me off. Just saying

  • GARY
    July 09, 2014 - 08:59

    Sounds like another one of those who expects everything handed to them from Gov't... Did you seriously expect gov't officials to check on every camper on the Island who didn't use enough foresight to check the weather forecast before deciding to sleep in a tent? What a farce. Next time I camp in NB and it rains remind me to put a lock on my tent so I'm not interrupted by the Office of Public Safety.

  • J.G.
    July 09, 2014 - 08:39

    Are you kidding? EVERYONE knew that there was going to be a storm. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are going to be safe. Knowing that there was going to be a major storm, you should have taken steps to ensure that you were going to be safe. Who plans to sleep in a tent in a hurricane, anyway?

    July 09, 2014 - 08:35

    Well Angela, It appears by this article that many people went out of their way to help you but you didn't want it. PEI is such a bad place for having a storm when you were on your trip. Shame on them. Guess your only option is is stay in NB when everything is perfect and the sun always shines although I don't suppose all those people in NB who have not had power for seven days might not agree with you.

  • mike
    July 09, 2014 - 08:18

    Wow, what a joke. It wasn't a freak storm, it was forecasted. A little preparation would have went a long way. I know of many campers who faired out fine because they planned appropriately.

  • Weather forecastor
    July 09, 2014 - 07:29

    If only they had warning that bad weather was on it way they could of taken it upon themselves to be prepared. How does the old saying go "poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" . When will people start taking responsibility and stop blaming everyone else for there failures?

    • Jody
      July 09, 2014 - 11:01

      I hope this person is truly not as ridiculous as this article portrays her. She lost a tent and some sleep. We lost decades old trees and interruption of business income - but we are not blaming the government or NSP or anyone else, and we STILL don't have power in some areas. As ridiculous as it was to ignore the weather forecast and proceed to pitch a tent and expect it to STAY there, then she has the balls to say she was disappointed in the province's lack of support for her stupidity. Next time, try reading "the three little pigs" for some tips, or better yet, Frankie MacDonald's weather forecasts should clue you in.