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Food, fuel shortages in Sydney seem short-lived after massive snowstorm

Graham Alexander was relieved to be able to get groceries in Sydney, N.S., on Wednesday after seeing pictures of empty shelves on social media the day before. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)
Graham Alexander was relieved to be able to get groceries in Sydney, N.S., on Wednesday after seeing pictures of empty shelves on social media the day before. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)

Shortages of food, gasoline and diesel in Sydney, N.S., appear to be easing quickly after a massive snowstorm that started on Friday and lasted well into Monday brought much of Cape Breton Island to a standstill.

Cape Breton Regional Municipality was placed under a state of emergency on Sunday. By Tuesday, trucks were having difficulty getting fuel to stations and pictures were being shared on social media of empty grocery store shelves.

The next morning, Graham Alexander went out to get some essentials.

"Everybody prepares for about three days," he said. "This was almost five, so we were starting to run a little low on supplies and we had seen the pictures of the shelves from people who had come out yesterday, or ventured out, and they were pretty bare, so we were hoping the trucks were able to make it in today."

Alexander went to one large retailer that carries groceries and household goods and was in luck.

"We pulled into the parking lot and we seen the transfer trucks and we're like, 'Oh, it's here,' [and] we're hoping for the best. We got in there and there was more than we expected."

Jerry Redmond says he was able to get all the groceries he needed at one store in Sydney, N.S., on Wednesday, but he had to keep looking elsewhere to find a new shovel.
Jerry Redmond says he was able to get all the groceries he needed at one store in Sydney, N.S., on Wednesday, but he had to keep looking elsewhere to find a new shovel.

Jerry Redmond says he was able to get all the groceries he needed at one store in Sydney, N.S., on Wednesday, but he had to look elsewhere to find a new shovel. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

The deli counter and the cheese and yogurt aisles were empty, but all other shelves appeared to be well stocked.

Jerry Redmond came out of the same store with all of the groceries he was looking for, but lacking the shovel he needed.

"There are none to be found in there anymore. Now we got to go somewhere else to find a shovel. I already broke one."

Chris McKee, executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, said snow especially caused delays in Cape Breton, but the effects were felt in New Brunswick and on the link to P.E.I.

"We saw the Confederation Bridge close down to all types of vehicles for one of the few times I can recall, so this definitely was a whopper," he said.

The storm held up deliveries for about three days, but trucks were moving once again on Tuesday, McKee said.

"It definitely put a kink in our supply chain, but we'll get everything back on schedule. We're hoping to make up some time in the coming week and on the weekend."

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