Many Peterborough residents frustrated after they had to toss out spoiled food from fridges, freezers as power outage lingered

After more than three days without power, some people in Peterborough were feeling the stress of living without it, and losing food, on Tuesday.

Saturday’s storm, classified as a right or a fast-moving line of intense windstorms, swept through the Peterborough area causing damage and knocking out power across the city and county.

The city announced late Tuesday afternoon that most residents in the city were expected to have power back by the end of Tuesday.

People without power can still charge their devices and access showers at Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre, Healthy Planet Arena and Kinsmen Civic Center from 8 am to 8 pm on Wednesday and Thursday.

The power outages in some sections of the city have been continuous causing many to lose fresh produce such as meat, milk, eggs, cheese and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Peterborough Public Health advises people to toss out food from fridges if the power has been out for more than 24 hours and from freezers after more than 48 hours.

Peterborough resident Michael Mackin was frustrated that he had to throw out most of the perishable food from his fridge and freezer. .

Mackin said he was working from home when he heard Environment Canada’s warning on the radio moments before he heard the roar of that he described as sounding like a freight train.

“I’ve seen tornadoes before working in Texas and I thought, Holy, it’s a tornado,” Mackin said.

“I didn’t see a funnel cloud, but there were high winds, everything was lifting. I thought, oh no, I’m going to lose the roof.”

“Why is it the politicians say, you’re going to be without power for three days or four days, give us a heads up,” he said.

“But to not have nobody come to you, nobody tell you squat, and you just sit here. I throw out eight bags of food already because I have a freezer and a big fridge.”

Mackin said he is better off than a lot of people, but he worries about what will happen to those who cannot replenish their food.

“We’re doing OK. My wife and I, we do all right compared to other people in this neighbourhood,” he said.

“It’s going to impact me over $1,000 when it’s all said and done, maybe more.”

Mackin counts himself lucky that at least he can use his barbecue but sympathizes with people who don’t have that option either.

“What we’ve been doing is using our barbecue to eat and boil water and take coffees around the neighbourhood,” he said.

As people continue to hold out the power will be restored soon, the damage is already done, especially for lower income people, said Ashlee Aitken, general manager Kawartha Food Share.

“Having to replace all your perishable and frozen food items is such a huge expense when costs are extremely high like they are now, for our clients, that will obviously be a struggle,” she said.

“On the other hand, a lot of our food banks have also gone without power now for so long that their fresh and frozen foods also must be discarded.”

She said the issue is most of the food banks in the city are without hydro and unable to accept perishable food items.

“We’re just waiting for hydro to be restored for everyone, in the meantime, purchasing lots of produce items,” Aitken said.

“We got a large egg shipment today we purchased. We have a big shipment coming tomorrow. Our friends at Feed the Need are sending extra frozen food down for us tomorrow.”

Thanks to a backup generator for their freezer, there was minimal loss of produce, which included a small amount of yogurt, milk and other products, she said.

“Thankfully this happened on a weekend where we usually try to get all of our products out on a Friday,” she said.

“Knowing it was a long weekend, we got extras out, so we didn’t lose too much.”


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