St. John's mayor worried about rain coming

James
James McLeod
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Says city coping fairly well so far

St. John's mayor Dennis O'Keefe said all in all, the city seems to be coping pretty well with the current power and snow buildup situation, and if anybody wants a warm drink, a bite to eat, or just some company, they should come down to the warming centre at City Hall.

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe.

"Just getting out of the house, getting out of your room, coming down to city hall where there's other people," O'Keefe said, "in addition to the heat, the coffee, the tea, there's company. And you know, that's what a lot of people are looking for as well."

O'Keefe said his big concern isn't the power right now; he's much more worried about the impending weather.

The forecast says that on Tuesday things will warm up and there could be a lot of rain.

"That's our big worry right now," O'Keefe. 

The big concern is with all the stormwater catch basins covered in snow and ice, when the rain comes there will be nowhere for it to go.

O'Keefe said that it would be a huge help if people can go out and clear snow and ice away from the fire hydrants and storm sewer catch basins.

"Many of the catch basins are buried under snow, and you know, if we can get some of those uncovered through our own efforts and the co-operative efforts of people in neighbourhoods across the city, pitching in together, you know we'er helping the city and we're helping ourselves," he said.

As for the power outages, O'Keefe said he thinks the city is coping OK.

"I think people are handling it marvelously well," he said. " They seem to have accepted it stoically and are making the best of it."

The city has been drawing ire from residents for allowing the Ice Caps game to go ahead last night at Mile One Centre.

O'Keefe defended that decision, saying that "obligations that they had to adhere to" was one of the reasons that the game went ahead.

He pointed out that the stadium reduced the electricity load as much as it could.

He said he's not sure at this point, but there are two more games scheduled for tonight and tomorrow, and as far as he knows, they'll still be going ahead.

"There's still two games left today and tomorrow," he said. "I will have to look into that when I go down to City Hall today, but as far as I know, those games are scheduled."

Geographic location: St. John's

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  • Disgruntled Resident
    January 06, 2014 - 16:59

    Let me get this straight, the mayor is asking us taxpayers to clear the catch basins around our property. In my case that would be an area of snow that is six feet by ten feet by five feet high approximately. Most which has been hardened like cement from the recent frigid temperatures. This year is the eleventh year that we've lived at this address and for the past ten years we have been clearing the snow and other debris from this catch basin ourselves so as to not have flooding on our property because the city doesn't do it. I was involved in a car accident earlier this year through no fault of my own and am now unable to clear the snow because of a back injury resulting from this accident . I've contacted the city several times and have even contacted my ward councillor and to date this drain has not been cleared. The weather forecast calls for rain tomorrow and once again there will be a lake in front of my property which in turn will run down into my basement. Whose responsibly will that be I wonder? So Mister Mayor in response to your request that I clear the drain in front of my house may I say to you, the city should have cleared that drain long ago as it has not been done since we started having snow a month ago.

  • David Jackson
    January 06, 2014 - 16:56

    Let me get this straight, the mayor is asking us taxpayers to clear the catch basins around our property. In my case that would be an area of snow that is six feet by ten feet by five feet high approximately. Most which has been hardened like cement from the recent frigid temperatures. This year is the eleventh year that we've lived at this address and for the past ten years we have been clearing the snow and other debris from this catch basin ourselves so as to not have flooding on our property because the city doesn't do it. I was involved in a car accident earlier this year through no fault of my own and am now unable to clear the snow because of a back injury resulting from this accident . I've contacted the city several times and have even contacted my ward councillor and to date this drain has not been cleared. The weather forecast calls for rain tomorrow and once again there will be a lake in front of my property which in turn will run down into my basement. Whose responsibly will that be I wonder? So Mister Mayor in response to your request that I clear the drain in front of my house may I say to you, the city should have cleared that drain long ago as it has not been done since we started having snow a month ago.

  • David Jackson
    January 06, 2014 - 16:52

    Let me get this straight, the mayor is asking us taxpayers to clear the catch basins around our property. In my case that would be an area of snow that is six feet by ten feet by five feet high approximately. Most which has been hardened like cement from the recent frigid temperatures. This year is the eleventh year that we've lived at this address and for the past ten years we have been clearing the snow and other debris from this catch basin ourselves so as to not have flooding on our property because the city doesn't do it. I was involved in a car accident earlier this year through no fault of my own and am now unable to clear the snow because of a back injury resulting from this accident . I've contacted the city several times and have even contacted my ward councillor and to date this drain has not been cleared. The weather forecast calls for rain tomorrow and once again there will be a lake in front of my property which in turn will run down into my basement. Whose responsibly will that be I wonder? So Mister Mayor in response to your request that I clear the drain in front of my house may I say to you, the city should have cleared that drain long ago as it has not been done since we started having snow a month ago.

  • Bob
    January 06, 2014 - 10:01

    I'm not sure if anyone on my street knows where the catch basin is, and even if we did, its at least ten feet from the current roads edge, covered in an eight foot snow bank!!! I'd need a back ho to get to it. My biggest concern is getting out of my driveway safely in the morning without having the nose taken off my car, or being t boned by another car trying to get up our snow covered road in the dark! Lets get real Mayor o'Keefe!

  • Teresa Spurr
    January 06, 2014 - 10:01

    "I think people are handling it marvelously well," he said. " They seem to have accepted it stoically and are making the best of it." - This attitude reveals a real contempt for the people - an old-fashioned paternalism that supports continued incompetence.

  • Barry
    January 06, 2014 - 09:58

    I have shoveled out the hydrant in front of my house several times this winter only to have it and my driveway filled back in by the sidewalk snow blower. When I tried to stopped the driver from filling in the hydrant he said it is not his responsibility.

  • CS
    January 06, 2014 - 09:36

    "Many of the catch basins are buried under snow... the co-operative efforts of people in neighbourhoods across the city, pitching in together, you know we'er helping the city and we're helping ourselves," Mayor O'Keefe said. That would be great and we've always cleared it when we clear our driveway but the plow has piled about 15 feet of snow on top of the catch basin...

  • Guy Incognito
    January 06, 2014 - 09:05

    "Snow Bank" O'Keefe loves him some storms/power failures. He gets to wield his mighty mayoral powers to cancel school and allowing hockey games to proceed. Plus he gets his face on the news all the time.

  • To james
    January 06, 2014 - 08:47

    James - Please get the real story and check with AHL about the obligations. This is not correct information. Games get cancelled for extenuating services all the time. The City should be leading by example - obviously they care more about hockey (and pleasing the owner of the team) than those left without power

  • Gilly's Gang
    January 06, 2014 - 08:28

    Open Mile One for a warming station Doc. Time for the "Stakeholders" of the city, the taxpayers to be looked after, much like you looked after the Portland Pirates.

  • Go_Figure
    January 06, 2014 - 08:23

    Now he says "people can go out and clear snow and ice away from the fire hydrants and storm sewer catch basins." From an earlier post in CBC, people were told "not to touch it, as it's the union's job". I think Dennis is right though, public safety comes first, not your union position.