On Saturday, May 21, Ottawa was the victim of yet another natural disaster that devastated nearly every corner of our city. A powerful and violent storm swept through the region with high winds, heavy rains and lightning, resulting in extensive damage to our hydro infrastructure, including downed power lines and over 300 broken poles – not to mention hundreds of large trees that snapped or were uprooted.

Experts have now determined that this storm was the most severe weather event in the last 30 years – worse than the ice storm of 1998 and the tornado of 2018, as more than 725 different outages affected nearly 180,000 households across Ottawa. Work to restore power and clean up the city began immediately and continue around the clock until every last issue is resolved. This was a very complex and highly sensitive operation that in many cases required significant infrastructure repairs, far beyond a simple reset of the grid.

I commend the teams at Hydro Ottawa and Hydro One, City staff, the crews from the Ministry of Northern Development Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, and all our partners for their tireless efforts over the last couple of weeks, for not only restoring power, but also keeping people safe.

During the Emergency Operations Centre response, more than 67,000 meals were delivered throughout the city to residents in need. Thousands of wellness visits were conducted thanks to multiple teams of Ottawa Public Health nurses, the Ottawa Fire Service, the Canadian Red Cross, youth volunteers from the Fire Venturers Program, and many more.

I also want to recognize the tremendous efforts of my Council colleagues who were on the ground at all hours to speak to their constituents and ensure that all were taken care of.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank all residents who experienced power outages for their patience over those few weeks. While many had to endure long periods without power, we saw neighbours helping neighbours and strangers lending a helping hand to those in need, once again showing the compassion and generosity across all communities during a crisis. We are a resilient community and we consistently come together to help each other out in times of need.