Most of Salt Spring Island still without power after ‘devastating’ windstorm


WATCH: It’s a difficult situation tonight on Salt Spring Island for Christmas Eve, where crews are struggling to clear roads blocked by downed trees and try to restore power. Kori Sidaway has more on how the community is coming together to try to make the best of a tough situation.

Downed tree after tree, powerline after powerline, it’s an apocalyptic scene heading into the heart of Salt Spring Island.

“I’ve never been in a wa rzone like this before. It’s just devastating,” said local resident Owlyn Geeling.

“I’ve been here 24 years now and this is the worst storm I’ve ever seen,” said Salt Spring resident Kathleen.

“There’s debris all over the roads, there’s just stands of trees, trees on houses it’s a mess.”

Thursday’s windstorm tore through the Southern Gulf Islands with 90 kilometre an hour gusts. Thousands have been without power since, and the packed local hubs, prove it.

“They’re coming in to warm up, charge their phones. Everybody’s looking for a place to eat because nobody can cook their meals, so we’ve had lots and lots of flow here,” said Tree House Cafe server Naeco Palm.

Out on the roads, crews working to remove the downed trees are in awe of the destruction.

“I don’t know anybody that has dealt with a situation this devastating as long as I’ve been doing tree work before,” said Ken Redford who owns Elevated Tree Service.

Just one of Redford’s jobs is an arbutus tree which easily sliced through a garage. And just down the road, a car lays crushed under a giant fir.

Miraculously no one was injured, but the damage across Saltspring Island is extensive.

“It was just chaos, I’ve never seen the island so devastated as bad as it was,” said Redford.

“I’d venture to say maybe 75 per cent of the island was out when we got here Saturday morning.”

With countless trees blocking road access, many of those on Saltspring will likely be without power for Christmas. But the Islanders are coming together.

“The community has really rallied to take care of people,” said Sharon Bywater.

“When people were caught and couldn’t get out of their cars, people were going up to the road and taking them hot coffee and meals and things. It brings out the best in people.”

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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