As Hurricane Lee approaches the Maritimes, some Nova Scotians are facing a major problem – they still don’t have cell service to make emergency calls or receive emergency alerts. This is an issue that politicians promised to address after a devastating flash flood this summer resulted in the loss of four lives, including two children.
Premier Tim Houston acknowledged the problem and stated that more needs to be done to improve cell coverage in the province. Despite efforts by his office to find solutions, the issue remains unresolved. Houston expressed hope that the CRTC, Canada’s telecommunications regulator, would step in to help. Recognizing the importance of cell service during times of crisis, he emphasized that people should be able to expect reliable coverage in 2023.
In July, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called on the CRTC to address cellular dead zones in Nova Scotia following the deadly floods. However, François-Philippe Champagne, the federal minister responsible for the CRTC, has not commented on the matter.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Lee is getting weaker but increasing in size, with a predicted impact on New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Environment Canada has issued a hurricane watch for several areas, including fishing communities, warning of potential near-hurricane strength winds and the possibility of power outages. Residents are advised to prepare for the storm by stocking up on supplies and staying away from the coastline.
In addition, downpours indirectly related to Lee have already caused flood risks in the Maritimes. Concerns have also been raised about the Chignecto Isthmus, a low-lying area that connects New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and is at risk of flooding. A legal dispute over who will pay for repairs or replacement of the dike system that protects the area continues.
As a precaution, Nova Scotia has decided to close its provincial parks on Friday due to the expected severe weather conditions caused by Hurricane Lee.