Municipal leadership with the Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls have declared a State of Emergency after Sunday night’s severe thunderstorm and possible tornado activity destroyed large swathes of the area.
They say the hardest hit areas include Caliper Lake Provincial Park, the downtown core of Nestor Falls and the Sabaskong Bay area including Sabaskong Bay Road and nearby islands.
Thankfully, no injuries have been reported through the storm, even after an evacuation of the park Sunday night. Although, many residents’ campers are total-write offs and the park remains closed for the time being.
Power remains out to roughly 60 to 80 homes in the area. Hydro One says the storm damaged much of their equipment, and there’s no timeline on potential restoration. Bell workers are also continuing to respond to the community to restore any downed phone lines.
The Township has now activated its Emergency Operations Centre and has declared a State of Emergency, in order to receive assistance from the provincial and federal governments.
The Township has put in an urgent request with a local contractor to clear Sabaskong Bay Road, as well as requests to the province to deploy forestry and fire crews to assist the community.
They add municipal staff are continuing to work to clear roadways and evacuate about 50 campers at Caliper Lake, as well as ensuring that the road past the park, where several residential properties lie, is open.
“We continue to ask for patience as we deploy our limited local resources,” wrote the Township. “As soon as further assistance is made available, we will work in a coordinated manner to further deploy additional assets, if approved by the province, to assist with private residents and businesses in need of assistance removing trees.”
Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford says he’s been working with local leaders, government officials and Hydro One to ensure support for the community, and thanked volunteers, responders and Hydro One crews for their tireless effort during this time.
The Nestor Falls landfill site will be open today to accept any construction waste and dumping fees will be waived.
Christian Aid Ministries Canada is now on the ground assisting residents with disaster response, first aid and tree removal. Residents hoping for assistance or wanting to volunteer are asked to contact CAM’s Northern Ontario Unit #2 at 1-800-548-0667.
The Township also took time to thank municipal staff, volunteers, emergency responders, Hydro workers, Caliper Lake forestry workers, the OPP, Bell Canada, ACEL Fire, private businesses and residents who have all donated their time, equipment and goods.