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Prince County communities cope with post-Dorian life on P.E.I.

Troy Beck, of Miscouche, worked Wednesday to take down a huge tree that fell on his property during hurricane Dorian Saturday night. Days since the storm the cleanup continues.
Troy Beck, of Miscouche, worked Wednesday to take down a huge tree that fell on his property during hurricane Dorian Saturday night. Days since the storm the cleanup continues. - Colin MacLean

They affectionately named it “The Whomping Willow,” in honour of the cantankerous tree from the Harry Potter book series.

Sadly though, they spent Tuesday cutting it up.

Troy Beck’s family spent some of what was supposed to be their vacation cleaning up after post-tropical storm Dorian. That included chopping up a massive tree that had dominated one side of their Miscouche property for untold years.

It was sad to see it go, said Beck.

“This was our biggest and prettiest tree that we had,” he said surveying the damage.

The village of Miscouche was hit hard during the storm, losing many ancient old trees like “The Whomping Willow.” Groups of people with chainsaws were hard at work Sunday, Monday and Tuesday trying to clear driveways, roads and properties.

About 60 per cent of the village’s power had been restored as of Tuesday afternoon, but significant outages remained in surrounding communities like Lot 16 and St. Nicholas and further west into Evangeline.

It’s hard to comprehend the damage, said Miscouche fire Chief Jason Woodbury.

“I’m shocked at the infrastructure damage … it’s significant in this region,” said Woodburry.

“When you drive down through St. Nicholas all the lines are covered in trees and I think it’s going to be days, rather than hours before power is restored to those hardest-hit areas.”

Woodbury was busy at the fire station on Tuesday. They had been coordinating with Maritime Electric to check on infrastructure and people in their areas. They were also helping to coordinate comfort stations at the St. Nicholas Community Hall and their own fire station.

Woodbury said several people had taken advantage of the stations to grab a shower at the Miscouche station or fill up on freshwater in St. Nicholas. He added that whether or not the stations would remain open would be re-evaluated each day, depending on how power restoration was progressing.

Taking it in stride

Linda Murray lives on the Ellerslie Road, in Ellerslie, and was still without power as of Tuesday afternoon and doubted she would be back online for at least another couple of days.  She was taking it in stride though.

“These things don’t phase me. You just gotta do what you gotta do,” she said with a smile.

Tuesday morning Murray had ventured into Summerside to pick up some parts to repair her small generator, which was enough to power her fridge and boil the tea kettle. That was enough for her. She’d also made a few runs to buy fresh water and get some hot meals.

Neighbours support each other and work together to get through the inconveniences, she added.

Murray, like many residents in that area, stopped at Cook’s Convenience in Miscouche for provisions during the aftermath of Dorian.

Owner Jonathan Gallant said the store was fortunate in that the business was among the first to get its power back on Sunday, which meant for a time it was the only place for kilometres around with hot food, water, bread and other supplies.

They couldn’t brew coffee fast enough, he said.

According to Maritime Electric, as of Wednesday morning there were still 10,500 P.E.I. customers without power. The company said it has 73 crews, including assistance from Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, working to restore power.

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