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St. John’s state of emergency expected to end Saturday, Mayor says

From left, City of St. John’s deputy city manager of public works LynnAnn Winsor, St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen and St. John’s Regional Fire Department Deputy  Fire Chief of Operations Rick Mackey speak with reporters Wednesday at the City Depot administrative offices on Blackler Avenue. Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
From left, City of St. John’s deputy city manager of public works LynnAnn Winsor, St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen and St. John’s Regional Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief of Operations Rick Mackey speak with reporters Wednesday at the City Depot administrative offices on Blackler Avenue.- Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen says the state of emergency in St. John’s will stay in place until Saturday at 6 a.m., as it stands.

An update on the state of emergency in the capital city will take place on Friday, should the city see any more ice or snow between now and then.

Breen says the city has a better idea of where snowclearing stands, allowing him to be more definitive on when the state of emergency will end.

“We’ve now got a better handle on what we’re doing in terms of snowclearing and snow removal. We know what equipment we have, our staff have been working around the clock. Our staff have been able to tell us a little bit better what our success is going to be in removing snow,” said Breen.

“Paramount to us is the safety of the residents and the population of the city. We have to make sure that’s in place before we take the state of emergency off.”


Exemptions for state of emergency in St. John’s:

  • Workers living in St. John’s but working in other municipalities are permitted to travel.
  • Travel to St. John's International Airport is permitted.
  • Taxis can resume full operations.
  • Oil companies can deliver home heating fuel.
  • All medical, health and dentist offices may open at 8 a.m. Thursday.
  • Veterinarians may open at 8 a.m. Thursday.
  • Robin Hood Bay landfill open to commercial haulers and other municipal customers.
  • Garbage and recycling collection will NOT go ahead.
  • Pharmacies and food stores may open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Private snow contractors and equipment maintenance shops may operate.
  • Gas stations may open.
  • 24-hour parking ban outside downtown and business district remains in effect.

Breen says it’s been a challenge to get residents of the city to comply with the state of emergency, which was declared on Jan. 17.

“We also have gotten a lot of work done. We understand that it’s not something that’s easily enforced, but it’s something that people have also voluntarily abided by,” he said.

The state of emergency still requires non-exempt businesses to remain closed for the duration of the state of emergency.

“This is very challenging for business, very challenging for people working in the city. I have a lot of sympathy for people that are adversely affected by this,” he said.

“After our discussions today – we had a real good look at the city, the work that’s been done – we’re getting there, but we don’t feel like the streets are at the safety level that they need to be in order to take off the state of emergency right now.”

Lynnann Windsor, deputy manager of public works, says the sheer volume of snow is the biggest issue facing the city.

“The greatest difficulty we’re having right now is that it is taking us a lot longer to remove the snow than normal,” she said.

“The city has received about 250 centimetres since Christmas Eve. That makes it very challenging to remove the snow.”

St. John’s Regional Fire Department Platoon Chief Rick Mackey said people need to clear dryer vents and keep safety at home top of mind as the emergency continues.

“Anything that produces heat within your house, if it gets blocked up, that heat is going to get trapped inside the appliance, which could cause a problem with the appliance itself, could even cause it to catch fire if you have clothes in a dryer,” said Mackey.

He says to keep an eye out for children playing in the snow.

“We have a lot of kids around the neighbourhood in town right now. There’s a lot of pent-up energy. Please make sure that they keep playing safe, under parental or adult supervision, if possible.”

Twitter: @DavidMaherNL


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