A barge accident at Dodd Narrows is believed to caused a power outage to Mudge and Gabriola islands

A barge accident at Dodd Narrows is believed to caused a power outage to Mudge and Gabriola islands

Barge accident knocks out power to Mudge and Gabriola Island

NANAIMO – Mudge and Gabriola Island residents could be without power for up to 48 hours after a barge accident last night.

Mudge and Gabriola Island residents could be without power for up to 48 hours after a barge accident Tuesday night.

According to Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman, a barge with a tall crane took out power lines at Dodd Narrows, between Nanaimo and Mudge Island, at approximately 9 p.m. last night.

As a result, power was knocked out to approximately 3,500 customers. Olynyk estimated it could be between 24 and 48 hours before everything is restored.

All electricity, Telus and cable are out, Olynyk said.

“We don’t have a complete [estimated time of repair] at this point because it’s just going to be challenging work. Crews are going to be over on Mudge at around 1:30 p.m. today, we have to coordinate that with time, make sure weather co-operates with us to string the line across and all that,” said Olynyk.

For more information, please go to B.C. Hydro’s website.

While residents are without power, ferry service to Nanaimo is still running, albeit with very minor delays, said B.C. Ferries.

“We are using, what we call, ship-to-shore power right now to operate the ramp at Gabriola. We’re a few minutes behind, but nothing major. Sometimes ship-to-shore power does take an extra few minutes, so it may cause us some delays, but so far, so good,” said Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokeswoman.

School was optional Wednesday for Gabriola Elementary students and professional development days were already scheduled for Thursday and Friday (Sept. 29-30).

Dale Burgos, Nanaimo school district spokesman, said teachers will likely relocate to Nanaimo for meetings.

Jani Drew, Regional District of Nanaimo emergency coordinator, said the regional district will assist with communications as there is no 911 access and fire dispatch is impacted.

She said the regional district will attempt to reach out to anyone who may be impacted by lack of ability to call medical services. The regional district has been in touch with key people on Mudge that may need assistance.

“We’ve also activated our emergency communications association and amateur radio volunteers will be at the Gabriola fire department. There’ll also be volunteers activated over on [Nanaimo] just in case there’s any need for emergency communications.

“You can always count on amateur radio, it’s the tried and true when everything else fails,” Drew said.