Hydro workers continue ‘tough slugging’ to get power back to Toronto residents

News Dec 27, 2013 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

When Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and four Scarborough MPPs arrived Friday, Dec. 27, afternoon, some homes on tiny Bush Drive in Highland Creek had power, and some didn’t.

It had taken two Hydro One crews, men from Kingston who had worked long shifts for five or six days straight before coming to Toronto, the better part of two hours just to reconnect two houses to the working power grid.

That kind of “tough slugging” would continue, Hydro One CEO Carmine Marcello said, until all customers in the city had their power back.

“Officials have responded in absolutely the way I would have wanted,” Wynne told reporters after watching the crew at one end of a cul-de-sac repair secondary lines snapped by falling branches during the Dec. 22 ice storm.

“Everyone is working and doing their utmost.”

As Toronto Hydro and the provincial utility were beginning what was described as the final, difficult recovery phase consisting mainly of individual houses, 32,000 customers in the city were still in the dark.

In Scarborough, that included entire streets where frustrations were building and greater efforts were still needed, said local councillors, some of whom said they were tired of storm-recovery “photo ops” staged by other politicians.

On Friday, Michelle Berardinetti, called the safety jackets and hard hats Wynne and the MPPs wore in Highland Creek “props” and questioned why the premier had come.

“To my residents it looks fake,” she said.

The councillor for Scarborough Southwest was among the first to call for a declared state of emergency - “Call it what it is,” she said - and insisted more still needed to be done for residents who had gone up to seven days without power.

“People are really upset,” Berardinetti said. “You don’t have a television, you don’t have information.”

Berardinetti said the city hadn’t set up enough warming centres in hard-hit Scarborough, and urged people who had a generator to spare to contact her office so that it could be borrowed for another local home.

Gary Crawford, Southwest Scarborough’s other councillor, said Friday at least 12 streets in his ward still had significant outages, and many there felt forgotten.

“There’s a real sense of abandonment, that people just don’t care - which I don’t think is the case,” he said.

Some residents, isolated and elderly, stayed because they worried leaving would open their homes to thefts, said Crawford, while others hadn’t yet seen a Hydro truck nearby and just wanted information.

Paul Ainslie, a councillor for Scarborough East, counted three areas in his ward that were still dark.

“We’re not talking house by house, we’re talking streets,” he said, adding his distaste for an appearance Mayor Rob Ford had made at a local school.

The school had power and the mayor, Ainslie said, had for a “photo op” pulled a crew from Hydro Windsor away from their work reconnecting homes around it.

The only warming centre in his ward was at Toronto police’s 43 Division station, and its community room wasn’t big enough to sleep in, he said.

“I had a lot of low-income and elderly people who were freezing in their homes” because they couldn’t get to a centre where they could stay overnight, charged Ainslie.

He added he’ll press for a full report on communication between the city, Toronto Hydro and residents since the storm.

He pointed out it could be much improved, from the “antiquated” map Toronto Hydro uses to show outrages by postal code online to the city’s Office of Emergency Management, which has a Twitter account hadn’t, Ainslie noted, tweeted anything for residents since the crisis began (There was activity from the account on Friday).

On Bush Drive, Wynne conceded there were lessons to be learned from the storm, including improvements to communication plans, which she suggested didn’t provide enough information early on about where city warming centres were.

She appealed to the media, though, to focus on “present issues” and not on people “passing judgement on each other” for their performance during the crisis.

The premier said she was “adamant” door-to-door wellness checks were necessary to reach isolated residents, and that these were being done.

Local MPPs at the press conference said they’ve done their best to comfort people and supply them with information, adding they’ve been impressed by how residents have responded.

At St. David’s Village, retirement apartments on Danforth Road, the 60 seniors remaining huddled by day in their dining room, the only room heated by a generator, and slept under blankets at night until power was restored Thursday, Scarborough Centre MPP Brad Duguid said. “People in Scarborough are resilient.”

Residents of Livingston Lodge in Guildwood were evacuated after two and a half days without power, but all those seniors got out safely, said Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter.

Hunter wanted people in her riding to know everyone was working as hard on the recovery as possible, including people helping out their neighbours.

“It’s important that we pull together. We do see the community doing that.”

Pickering-Scarborough East MPP Tracy MacCharles said it was her neighbours who helped her and her husband. “That generosity is so important,” she said. “I think the spirit of community in Highland Creek and Scarborough is what’s going to pull us all together.”

Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Soo Wong had spent much of her time in the warming centre at Agincourt Community Centre, where she said members of local churches stepped in to help, bringing food and music, while her riding association brought Christmas gifts for the children.

Warming centres continued to offer beds, food and water at Agincourt as well as the McGregor Park and Malvern community centres.

Toronto police canvassed highrise buildings at 375, 400 and 410 McCowan Rd. and at 1735 and 1739 Victoria Park Ave. on Thursday, looking to take vulnerable people to a warming centre if necessary, but no residents were moved, Const. Victor Kwong said Friday.

Hydro workers continue ‘tough slugging’ to get power back to Toronto residents

Scarborough councillors critical of photo ops by politicians

News Dec 27, 2013 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

When Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and four Scarborough MPPs arrived Friday, Dec. 27, afternoon, some homes on tiny Bush Drive in Highland Creek had power, and some didn’t.

It had taken two Hydro One crews, men from Kingston who had worked long shifts for five or six days straight before coming to Toronto, the better part of two hours just to reconnect two houses to the working power grid.

That kind of “tough slugging” would continue, Hydro One CEO Carmine Marcello said, until all customers in the city had their power back.

“Officials have responded in absolutely the way I would have wanted,” Wynne told reporters after watching the crew at one end of a cul-de-sac repair secondary lines snapped by falling branches during the Dec. 22 ice storm.

“Everyone is working and doing their utmost.”

As Toronto Hydro and the provincial utility were beginning what was described as the final, difficult recovery phase consisting mainly of individual houses, 32,000 customers in the city were still in the dark.

In Scarborough, that included entire streets where frustrations were building and greater efforts were still needed, said local councillors, some of whom said they were tired of storm-recovery “photo ops” staged by other politicians.

On Friday, Michelle Berardinetti, called the safety jackets and hard hats Wynne and the MPPs wore in Highland Creek “props” and questioned why the premier had come.

“To my residents it looks fake,” she said.

The councillor for Scarborough Southwest was among the first to call for a declared state of emergency - “Call it what it is,” she said - and insisted more still needed to be done for residents who had gone up to seven days without power.

“People are really upset,” Berardinetti said. “You don’t have a television, you don’t have information.”

Berardinetti said the city hadn’t set up enough warming centres in hard-hit Scarborough, and urged people who had a generator to spare to contact her office so that it could be borrowed for another local home.

Gary Crawford, Southwest Scarborough’s other councillor, said Friday at least 12 streets in his ward still had significant outages, and many there felt forgotten.

“There’s a real sense of abandonment, that people just don’t care - which I don’t think is the case,” he said.

Some residents, isolated and elderly, stayed because they worried leaving would open their homes to thefts, said Crawford, while others hadn’t yet seen a Hydro truck nearby and just wanted information.

Paul Ainslie, a councillor for Scarborough East, counted three areas in his ward that were still dark.

“We’re not talking house by house, we’re talking streets,” he said, adding his distaste for an appearance Mayor Rob Ford had made at a local school.

The school had power and the mayor, Ainslie said, had for a “photo op” pulled a crew from Hydro Windsor away from their work reconnecting homes around it.

The only warming centre in his ward was at Toronto police’s 43 Division station, and its community room wasn’t big enough to sleep in, he said.

“I had a lot of low-income and elderly people who were freezing in their homes” because they couldn’t get to a centre where they could stay overnight, charged Ainslie.

He added he’ll press for a full report on communication between the city, Toronto Hydro and residents since the storm.

He pointed out it could be much improved, from the “antiquated” map Toronto Hydro uses to show outrages by postal code online to the city’s Office of Emergency Management, which has a Twitter account hadn’t, Ainslie noted, tweeted anything for residents since the crisis began (There was activity from the account on Friday).

On Bush Drive, Wynne conceded there were lessons to be learned from the storm, including improvements to communication plans, which she suggested didn’t provide enough information early on about where city warming centres were.

She appealed to the media, though, to focus on “present issues” and not on people “passing judgement on each other” for their performance during the crisis.

The premier said she was “adamant” door-to-door wellness checks were necessary to reach isolated residents, and that these were being done.

Local MPPs at the press conference said they’ve done their best to comfort people and supply them with information, adding they’ve been impressed by how residents have responded.

At St. David’s Village, retirement apartments on Danforth Road, the 60 seniors remaining huddled by day in their dining room, the only room heated by a generator, and slept under blankets at night until power was restored Thursday, Scarborough Centre MPP Brad Duguid said. “People in Scarborough are resilient.”

Residents of Livingston Lodge in Guildwood were evacuated after two and a half days without power, but all those seniors got out safely, said Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter.

Hunter wanted people in her riding to know everyone was working as hard on the recovery as possible, including people helping out their neighbours.

“It’s important that we pull together. We do see the community doing that.”

Pickering-Scarborough East MPP Tracy MacCharles said it was her neighbours who helped her and her husband. “That generosity is so important,” she said. “I think the spirit of community in Highland Creek and Scarborough is what’s going to pull us all together.”

Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Soo Wong had spent much of her time in the warming centre at Agincourt Community Centre, where she said members of local churches stepped in to help, bringing food and music, while her riding association brought Christmas gifts for the children.

Warming centres continued to offer beds, food and water at Agincourt as well as the McGregor Park and Malvern community centres.

Toronto police canvassed highrise buildings at 375, 400 and 410 McCowan Rd. and at 1735 and 1739 Victoria Park Ave. on Thursday, looking to take vulnerable people to a warming centre if necessary, but no residents were moved, Const. Victor Kwong said Friday.

Hydro workers continue ‘tough slugging’ to get power back to Toronto residents

Scarborough councillors critical of photo ops by politicians

News Dec 27, 2013 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

When Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and four Scarborough MPPs arrived Friday, Dec. 27, afternoon, some homes on tiny Bush Drive in Highland Creek had power, and some didn’t.

It had taken two Hydro One crews, men from Kingston who had worked long shifts for five or six days straight before coming to Toronto, the better part of two hours just to reconnect two houses to the working power grid.

That kind of “tough slugging” would continue, Hydro One CEO Carmine Marcello said, until all customers in the city had their power back.

“Officials have responded in absolutely the way I would have wanted,” Wynne told reporters after watching the crew at one end of a cul-de-sac repair secondary lines snapped by falling branches during the Dec. 22 ice storm.

“Everyone is working and doing their utmost.”

As Toronto Hydro and the provincial utility were beginning what was described as the final, difficult recovery phase consisting mainly of individual houses, 32,000 customers in the city were still in the dark.

In Scarborough, that included entire streets where frustrations were building and greater efforts were still needed, said local councillors, some of whom said they were tired of storm-recovery “photo ops” staged by other politicians.

On Friday, Michelle Berardinetti, called the safety jackets and hard hats Wynne and the MPPs wore in Highland Creek “props” and questioned why the premier had come.

“To my residents it looks fake,” she said.

The councillor for Scarborough Southwest was among the first to call for a declared state of emergency - “Call it what it is,” she said - and insisted more still needed to be done for residents who had gone up to seven days without power.

“People are really upset,” Berardinetti said. “You don’t have a television, you don’t have information.”

Berardinetti said the city hadn’t set up enough warming centres in hard-hit Scarborough, and urged people who had a generator to spare to contact her office so that it could be borrowed for another local home.

Gary Crawford, Southwest Scarborough’s other councillor, said Friday at least 12 streets in his ward still had significant outages, and many there felt forgotten.

“There’s a real sense of abandonment, that people just don’t care - which I don’t think is the case,” he said.

Some residents, isolated and elderly, stayed because they worried leaving would open their homes to thefts, said Crawford, while others hadn’t yet seen a Hydro truck nearby and just wanted information.

Paul Ainslie, a councillor for Scarborough East, counted three areas in his ward that were still dark.

“We’re not talking house by house, we’re talking streets,” he said, adding his distaste for an appearance Mayor Rob Ford had made at a local school.

The school had power and the mayor, Ainslie said, had for a “photo op” pulled a crew from Hydro Windsor away from their work reconnecting homes around it.

The only warming centre in his ward was at Toronto police’s 43 Division station, and its community room wasn’t big enough to sleep in, he said.

“I had a lot of low-income and elderly people who were freezing in their homes” because they couldn’t get to a centre where they could stay overnight, charged Ainslie.

He added he’ll press for a full report on communication between the city, Toronto Hydro and residents since the storm.

He pointed out it could be much improved, from the “antiquated” map Toronto Hydro uses to show outrages by postal code online to the city’s Office of Emergency Management, which has a Twitter account hadn’t, Ainslie noted, tweeted anything for residents since the crisis began (There was activity from the account on Friday).

On Bush Drive, Wynne conceded there were lessons to be learned from the storm, including improvements to communication plans, which she suggested didn’t provide enough information early on about where city warming centres were.

She appealed to the media, though, to focus on “present issues” and not on people “passing judgement on each other” for their performance during the crisis.

The premier said she was “adamant” door-to-door wellness checks were necessary to reach isolated residents, and that these were being done.

Local MPPs at the press conference said they’ve done their best to comfort people and supply them with information, adding they’ve been impressed by how residents have responded.

At St. David’s Village, retirement apartments on Danforth Road, the 60 seniors remaining huddled by day in their dining room, the only room heated by a generator, and slept under blankets at night until power was restored Thursday, Scarborough Centre MPP Brad Duguid said. “People in Scarborough are resilient.”

Residents of Livingston Lodge in Guildwood were evacuated after two and a half days without power, but all those seniors got out safely, said Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter.

Hunter wanted people in her riding to know everyone was working as hard on the recovery as possible, including people helping out their neighbours.

“It’s important that we pull together. We do see the community doing that.”

Pickering-Scarborough East MPP Tracy MacCharles said it was her neighbours who helped her and her husband. “That generosity is so important,” she said. “I think the spirit of community in Highland Creek and Scarborough is what’s going to pull us all together.”

Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Soo Wong had spent much of her time in the warming centre at Agincourt Community Centre, where she said members of local churches stepped in to help, bringing food and music, while her riding association brought Christmas gifts for the children.

Warming centres continued to offer beds, food and water at Agincourt as well as the McGregor Park and Malvern community centres.

Toronto police canvassed highrise buildings at 375, 400 and 410 McCowan Rd. and at 1735 and 1739 Victoria Park Ave. on Thursday, looking to take vulnerable people to a warming centre if necessary, but no residents were moved, Const. Victor Kwong said Friday.