Residents of Saturna Island, B.C., getting together for Christmas dinner

SATURNA ISLAND, B.C. — Lorna Archer-Quinn will be joining other residents of Saturna Island in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia for a warm community dinner on Christmas.

A 12-year resident of the island, Archer-Quinn is one of many people who have had no electricity since a powerful windstorm hit southwestern B.C. on Thursday.

A group has been making hot dinners for the residents at the island’s recreational centre, she said. And they plan to do it again for Christmas.

“We’re awfully tired of barbecued food and cold food so (my husband and I) are going to go down to Christmas dinner,” she said. “And it’s just so sweet of these young people to (make dinner).”

BC Hydro spokeswoman Mora Scott said as of Monday evening about 18,000 customers were still without power on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

A statement from the utility says contract crews from the East Coast and Alberta are lending a hand where power remains out.

The statement says restoring power in those areas remains a challenge because of the extent of the damage.

Winds as high as 100 km/h ripped over southern B.C. on Thursday, toppling trees and snapping power lines, knocking out electricity to more than 600,000 customers.

Archer-Quinn said the storm was “just so scary.”

Numerous trees and power lines were downed by the storm.

“It’s like a war zone,” she said.

The Island has about 350 people on it, and about 10 per cent of them have power, Archer-Quinn said.

For a couple of days following the storm, she said the landline phones were down too and the residents weren’t able to call 911.

But they are since back up.

Right now most of the residents are using the community centre to warm up, shower and charge their phones.

Scott said some customers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands may be without power through to Boxing Day.

There are hundreds of outages and crews have to attend each individually to make repairs, including restringing hundreds of spans of lines, and replacing power poles and transformers.

Archer-Quinn, meanwhile, is hoping for a Christmas miracle and electricity to be restored before the end of the year.

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