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Shelburne community comes together to weather Dorian, aid in clean-up


‘Couldn’t live in a better place’

Shelburne weathered Dorian through acts of generosity and speedy responses to assess and repair damage.

Post-tropical storm Dorian dumped 131.2 millimetres of rainfall on Shelburne on Sept. 7. But it was wind gusts exceeding 100 kilometres per hour that delivered the most damage, especially late in the afternoon. Shelburne lost over 100 trees as winds intensified, battering the fully-leafed trees. Old black locust trees were especially hard-hit.

Shelburne escaped a significant storm surge because the wind changed direction at high tide that afternoon, pushing the waves away from shore and out toward the mouth of Shelburne Harbour.

There was some damage to homes and buildings in Shelburne, but surprisingly little given the intensity of the storm. The main problem was that the fallen trees brought down power poles and lines throughout town.

Power went off at about 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 7. Nova Scotia Power had estimated that power would be restored by 11 p.m. on Sept. 10, but power came back on in some locations at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 9, and was gradually restored elsewhere throughout town as the day progressed. But parts of the community were still without power as night fell.

The whine of chainsaws filled the air all day Sunday, and in the following days. Nova Scotia Power crews were in Shelburne on Sunday, removing tree limbs from power lines and making repairs.

The Town of Shelburne’s public works crew started cleanup immediately following the storm Saturday night, and then were at it again early Sunday morning.

People in Shelburne came together to help one another. Kandace Asprey, the owner of Nova Scotia Rollie’s, opened her restaurant to the public on Sunday, cooking and baking everything on hand and giving it all away, free of charge, to the public.

Asprey did not want to be acknowledged. 

“That's not why we're doing this,” she said. But it showed how people in Shelburne came together to help one another.

The same was true for many people throughout the community who came to the aid of others, whether it was with food, loaning generators or helping with cleanup and repairs.

 Shelburne’s Anglican Church Hall served free meals on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights, with food donated by the Shelburne Sobeys store and others. That event was coordinated by the Parish of Christ Church Shelburne’s Honey Bees ministry.

The Shelburne Community Centre served as a comfort centre in the aftermath of the storm. The Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary and other volunteers worked in the kitchen, serving hot tea, coffee and food. Roland and Kathleen Glauser, owners of Charlotte Lane Café, spent Sunday and Monday at the community centre providing soups and desserts.

Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall took to social media on Sept. 8, the day after the storm, to express her gratitude to many in the community. High on her list was the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department. 

“Thank you to our awesome volunteer firefighters who attended many calls throughout the day and were in attendance (at the fire hall), available to open the showers,” she wrote.

“Thank you to Fire Chief Darrell Locke, who spent over 24 hours at the fire hall, manning the phones and providing important information.”

Mattatall also thanked all the residents who immediately began clearing any debris they could safely move from the streets. 

“Couldn’t live in a better place,” she concluded.

sdeschene@eastlink.ca

Editor's note: An earlier version of the story stated in error NS Power crews were in the area on Saturday. 

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