Damaging winds close Island down

MANITOULIN—Due to a storm featuring high winds upwards of 90 km/hr, Manitoulin Island residents found themselves out of power for much of Monday, joining approximately 73,000 Hydro One customers without power throughout the province.

“The cold front associated with the low pressure system south of Moosonee with high winds gusting up to 90 km/hr moved through Ontario overnight and resulted in a power interruption on Monday,” states a Hydro One press release.

According to the release, there were 13 incidents on Manitoulin Island, resulting in 10,429 customers out of power.

The power went out early Monday morning and was not returned until 4 pm for many customers, though some Island communities didn’t see power until later Monday night and even into Tuesday.

There were several reports of wind damage and fallen trees across the Island, including the severe damage of the new Wikwemikong mini mall extension, which had just been framed.

“The building was scheduled to increase our retail space and be open by Christmas,” Wikwemikong Chief Duke Peltier told The Expositor Monday night. “The contractors do have insurance coverage and are expected to have the site ready to rebuild soon. Equipment will be brought it to assist in the cleanup, but we are glad that there were no workers on site at the time of the bracing giving out.”

Though school was still in session at Rainbow District School Board schools on the Island, Wikwemikong schools were closed for the day as were most Island businesses and restaurants. The wind storm effectively shut Manitoulin down for commerce.

The wind also affected the 100th anniversary of the Little Current Swing Bridge, with the bridge unable to swing at its historic 9 am time as it did a century ago, though the church bells did ring and a large group faced the winds on the bridge to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’

Robin Burridge