One of the things that most impressed observers of the storm damage at Sandycove Acres adult lifestyle community was the level of co-operation and teamwork, in responding to the emergency.
As resident Linda Morris noted, “Between the actions of Parkbridge, the Sandycove Home Owners Association, the first responders and the other residents not affected by damage – (it) was amazing!”
Morris noted, “Residents came out with rakes and such to help residents clean up their property,” even as tree experts and local contractors immediately began clearing the roads for emergency vehicles.
“Fortunately, we had no injuries,” she said. “We all worked hard to ensure that everyone was taken care of.”
President of the Home Owners’ Association, John Bicknell agreed. Not only were directors of the Association in immediate communication with Parkbridge, the residents’ Emergency Preparedness Team was mobilized to help out where needed.
“Our role in an emergency is to provide assistance to our on-site ownership company as and when needed,” Bicknell explained. “In this particular case, members of our Board of Directors were on scene immediately to discuss with community management as to possible needs.”
Their most important function, he said, was the distribution of information – “for us to use our various channels of communication to advise residents of the situation, including the opening of our community halls (The Wheel, The Hub and The Spoke) as emergency shelters.”
He added, “I am happy to say that ownership responded quickly and in force to meet both immediate and ongoing needs for those residents affected, so that our involvement has been limited to providing continuing information for all residents, both as to the on-site situation and sourcing possible needs for those affected.”
The Emergency Preparedness Team (EPT) is not something that sprang up overnight, nor is this the first emergency it has dealt with, he said.
“The EPT was formed at least 20 years ago,” he noted – possibly in the wake of the 1985 tornado – and has dealt with incidents that range from wind and ice events to power outages.
“The team is led by a Board Director and has six to 10 volunteer residents,” Bicknell explained. “The team, in normal times, works on planning with first responders, including simulated emergencies, and the association typically holds events annually to keep residents updated.”
Most recently, before the July 15 storm, the Association and EPT worked with management on a different kind of emergency response: working to “arrange and hold vaccination clinics in here in the community,” to fight COVID-19, he said.
“Witnessing everyone come together to support each other through this has been an inspiring example of what community means at Parkbridge,” said Lachlan MacLean, Sr. vice president of property operations with Parkbridge. “The relationship between our residents and our Sandycove Acres team has only strengthened after this event.”
According to the onsite team at Sandycove, streets were cleared the day after the storm hit, and all downed trees have now been removed from homes and structures.
“We are continuing to work on removing some remaining damaged trees and stumps,” said a spokesperson. “We have some repair work ahead, including clearing debris between homes and repairing damage to grass and landscaping.
“It will likely be a few weeks before we have things fully back to normal, but we are seeing progress every day and are inspired by the community spirit and resilience of our residents and team members.”
As for the ‘uninhabitable’ home on Sunset Drive, left without a roof after tornado-like winds ripped through the area, Sandycove’s property manager was able to find the displaced residents a temporary rental within the community, while the home owner talks with their insurer about replacing the structure.