September 29, 2020

By LAURIE SNELL

There’s that fun little saying, “when hell freezes over,” that most never think they will live to talk about.

But for thousands of Ontarians, the December ice storm that aggressively struck down trees, froze over our cars and left thousands in the dark for days on end, hell truly did freeze over.

Smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season, nothing could have been more frustrating for everyone – politicians, hydro workers, and, of course, the public – who could not comprehend the delay in getting things up and running.

At every turn, our modern conveniences were halted by the lack of power, but the fault belonged to no one but Mother Nature.

Yet, hydro workers unfairly bore the brunt of the public’s upset.

We believe it’s time to give credit where credit is due. Hydro workers deserve our sincerest gratitude for their hard work and dedication to their jobs.

At one point, Waterloo Region saw upwards of 25,000 in the dark and within two days that number was cut in half. Working from early in the morning until they were too tired to continue into the night, some employees had no power in their own homes when they ventured into the darkness to help others.

This was not an easy fix.

For some, power was out for a few hours, making it a mild inconvenience. But the nature of the storm made it difficult to pinpoint the precise location of several outages, as they were scattered on the grid, causing a significant delay. Many hydro workers found themselves knocking on doors checking for power.

But with all the naysaying about responsibility and preparedness, it’s time to take a step back and appreciate how readily available workers from all other areas were to join the effort. Without the influx of assistance – including 42 workers from Manitoba – some may have been in the dark for double the amount of time.

For politicians, reacting with speed, calmness and empathy was vital to the restoration process, and Premier Kathleen Wynne responded by offering grocery cards to make the financial repercussions more manageable for families in need.

With millions of dollars in cleanup costs, we should focus on getting provincial and federal aid and giving the hydro workers a well-deserved break.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.

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