It was a stormy night at North Battleford city council, in more ways than one.
A major thunder storm knocked out power across the city, plunging City Hall into darkness, bringing an early end to what was an unusual night at city council in North Battleford.
Council was scheduled to reconvene at noon Tuesday to pick up where they left off.
North Battleford ended up being one of the communities hit by a massive storm system that socked Saskatchewan on Monday, with more storms expected on Tuesday.
The storm wound up downing trees across the community. A canopy at the 7-Eleven on 100th Street partially collapsed landing on a car at the gas bar.
A barn north of the city was also said to be hard hit by the wind damage and there were several reports of shingles blown off roofs. However, there were no reports of injuries.
According to weather watchers, wind speeds on the night were clocked at 100 km/h.
Power was knocked out across North Battleford and much of Battleford and several areas of both communities were still without power as of Tuesday morning.
There were also some reports of localized flooding in some areas of the city, though it was not as extensive as flooding that took place during the major storm that hit the Battlefords in 2010. There also did not appear to be much hail resulting from the system that hit the Battlefords, though there was a downpour of rain.
The stormy end to the evening at City Hall wrapped up a stormy night in general, which began when Battlefords Tourism chair Donna Challis went to the podium to outline her concerns about the City’s plans to pull funding and wind down Battlefords Tourism to replace it with the Greater Battlefords Marketing Alliance.
During that presentation, Challis voiced concern about the proposed move, which she said “not only throws out the baby but the bathwater and the tub, and starts everything over. Is that really the right step to take?”
She also said the board did not expect the wholesale changes that was coming and relayed that tourism members who sit on the board felt “potentially left out of the new proposal. Where do tourism members and tourism partners fit? Looks like only on a subcommittee two steps away from the decision maker.”
Later in the meeting, councillors talked at length about a resolution on the table that would have incorporated the Greater Battlefords Marketing Alliance as a non-profit corporation and appointed the director of business development to the initial startup board of directors. They heard from Business Development Director Denis Lavertu about the setup of the new alliance, which had been in the works since 2008.
There was some concern expressed by a number of councillors about going ahead without support from Battlefords Tourism’s board members, with suggestions to look into ways to bring them on board and address their concerns.
Councillor Ray Fox suggested meeting with the tourism people again, but nevertheless voiced his support for the Greater Battlefords Marketing Alliance.
“I think we need to move on with this,” said Fox, who added that most people he’s heard from are calling for the changes.
“From what I’m hearing from them, without exception, we have to do something different.”
As the discussion of the Greater Battlefords Marketing Alliance went on, the concentration of administration members visibly shifted to the rapidly developing situation outside.
Both Public Works Director Stewart Schafer and Parks and Recreation Director Keith Anderson were looking at an iPad showing Environment Canada radar from the Radisson station of the massive storm entering from the south. They showed the radar to City Manager Jim Toye and also to members of the media.
Soon, the city hall building shook from the sounds of the wind and rain hitting the roof. A few administration members headed out of the council chamber to look out the window, and found a raging lightning storm in progress.
Councillor Grace Lang noted the “wind out there” shaking the roof, which Mayor Ian Hamilton also noted to audience members watching on Access 7. “We’re all looking up,” Hamilton said.
As lights inside the council chamber started flickering, the mayor moved to start wrapping up the discussions on the subject at hand.
As Lavertu wrapped up his remarks on the Greater Battlefords Marketing Alliance, Toye pointed out a massive amount of rain was about to hit, and Fire Chief Pat MacIsaac noted power had just gone out right across the street.
Hamilton immediately adjourned the meeting with plans to reconvene at noon Tuesday, and it was at that point that power went out throughout City Hall.
The mayor, council and administration members, as well as the unusually large contingent in the gallery, braved lightning and heavy rains as they rushed to their cars to escape the scene.