The highway leading into Tofino was closed on Friday because of a fallen tree that had crashed into power lines, though a detour was in place to get commuters into town. The power remained off in Tofino Friday, despite being restored in neighbouring Ucluelet, because of multiple trees on power lines throughout the community. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Hydro hopes to have power restored in Tofino by Sunday

“There’s a lot of damage in Tofino that needs repairing.”

BC Hydro hopes to have power restored to some Tofino residents by Saturday and to the entire community by Sunday.

The community has been without power since around 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

READ MORE: Multiple power outages across Vancouver Island

BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk said the multi-day power outage was caused by downed lines and smashed poles caused by the recent storm.

“There’s a lot of damage in Tofino that needs repairing,” he said. “Tofino is one of our hard hit areas on the Island so, unfortunately, we’re not going to see restoration there as quickly as other parts of the Island.”

He added Hydro was initially unable to get as many crews to Tofino as they would like due to road issues on both Hwy. 4 and the Pacific Rim Highway.

READ MORE: Highway 4 reopens between Qualicum and west coast

“We’re looking at a multi-day event,” he said. “The challenge we find is, when we go into an area, it’s proving longer to restore than we initially thought just because of the damage we’re finding.”

He added there is too much damage to state exactly when power would be restored and added that Hydro must ensure the safety of its employees.

“Safety is our number one priority, for the public and for our crews. When we’re making efforts to restore power, if it’s hazardous and still stormy and things are blowing and flying all over the place, we’ll have crews stand down and not be out there. We don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way,” he said.

“Since the storms hit, we’ve been going 24/7. We try to stagger crews as much as we can, so that way people can work through the night, but we want to have the largest portion of our crews of course working in the daylight hours.”

READ MORE: More than 300,000 without power at one point due to B.C. wind storm

He assured Hydro is doing everything it can to get the power back on.

“We brought in crews from off-island to help. We have all hands on deck on the island. Crews and staff, people who were on holidays have been called in and willing to come in and help with the repairs,” he said. “We’ve put all the resources, at this point, that we can to try and assist with restoration.”

Ucluelet’s power went out at the same time as Tofino’s, however, power to most Ucluelet residents was restored by 4 p.m. on Friday, but Olynyk suggested the storm hit the other side of the peninsula harder.

“There was more damage to Tofino than there is in Ucluelet,” he said. “How the storm tracks is a question for Mother Nature, we just pick up the pieces after. The storm tracks in certain ways and the intensity hit Tofino, it seems, in some areas and brought some trees down unfortunately on some lines which resulted in the outage and Ucluelet didn’t seem to have that problem.”

READ MORE: Power restored in Ucluelet, outage continues in Tofino

He urges all West Coasters to stay at least 10 metres back from any downed lines they encounter and said anyone who sees a downed line should immediately call 911.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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