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Media Releases

October 13, 2019

 

Mayor Bowman Declares State of Local Emergency for City Of Winnipeg

Released: 4:27 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – Today, Mayor Bowman declared a state of local emergency for the City of Winnipeg. Along with its existing powers, the City will be able to use the authority granted under the state of local emergency to gain access to private property in order to deal with public trees that have fallen onto private property, and private trees that have fallen onto public property. In addition, the state of local emergency will allow the City to acquire the additional resources required to deal with this unprecedented weather event.

This event has already had a significant financial impact to the City of Winnipeg, and the costs are expected to grow as City staff continue to evaluate the damage to City infrastructure, including the tree canopy. The City has already engaged external contracts to help deal with the damage to City trees, focusing their efforts on public safety concerns including trees that are in contact with hydro lines, blocking roadways, and presenting other public safety risks.

"The City of Winnipeg Emergency Operations Centre remains active and the priority continues to be ensuring public safety, however efforts are shifting to recovery," said Mayor Bowman. "Winnipeggers are resilient, and on this Thanksgiving weekend, I continue to ask you to be kind, exercise patience, and continue to check on your family, friends, and neighbours, to provide any assistance you can."

The clearing of trees continues to be a significant part of City operations and the City has reached out across the country for assistance.  Even if additional assistance comes in, it will still be many months before public spaces are cleared of all damaged trees.

At the October 15 Executive Policy Committee meeting, the Mayor will introduce a motion that calls on the City of Winnipeg to apply to the Province of Manitoba for disaster financial assistance (DFA).

Receiving DFA will help off-set City costs related to this public emergency, and more details will be made available if the DFA claim has been accepted.

Update #4: City of Winnipeg response to snowfall

Crews clearing and removing downed trees and fallen branches throughout the city, prioritizing response based on life safety hazards

Released: 5:16 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – Crews continue to clear and remove downed trees and fallen branches city-wide, focusing efforts on priority locations where branches or trees are blocking streets. The City is employing contractors to assist in the efforts. It’s anticipated that the clean-up effort will take a number of weeks or more.

It’s estimated that approximately 30,000 City-owned trees were impacted by the recent snowstorm. While all areas of the city were impacted, core areas and mature neighbourhoods have a higher risk level due to the size of the trees.

Residents are reminded to be mindful of crews working on roadways. If a tree is blocking a roadway, or if crews are on a roadway working, please refrain from driving through the site and do not drive around them on medians or boulevards.

Residents are also asked to not park adjacent to failed trees and large limbs on the road that are still attached to the tree so that crews can access them.

Residents are advised that if a tree is in contact with a power line, to call 911 immediately. If a tree is blocking a public right-of-way including a road or sidewalk, but isn’t touching a power line, residents are advised to call 311. If a tree on public property has fallen, but not touching a power line or blocking the road, contact 311 online.

It’s important that residents provide as much accurate detail as possible when providing information so that service requests are properly triaged. Once a request has been made, it is logged. We are asking residents to only make one request per location – please do not contact us for a follow-up, the location has been logged and we will get to the location as soon as possible.

Privately Owned Trees
Fallen trees or branches that have failed on private property are the responsibility of the property owner to clean up. However, residents are advised to contact 911 if the tree is in contact with a power line.

Residents are reminded to exercise extreme caution if addressing fallen trees or branches that have fallen on private property.

Do not leave fallen trees or branches from private property on the public boulevard. Instead, residents are advised to bring tree and branch debris to the Brady Road Resource Management Facility or to one of the City’s 4R Winnipeg Depots to dispose of them free of charge during operating hours. These facilities will be open on the holiday Monday.

Moving Firewood
The Forest Health Protection Act and Regulations prohibit the storage of elm wood for any purpose. The restriction on the storage of elm wood is necessary as the elm bark beetle uses intact wood as a site to lay eggs and develop a new generation of elm bark beetles. For more information, see: City of Winnipeg – Dutch Elm Disease.

Residents are advised to dispose of ash trees directly to the Brady Road Resource Management Facility or to one of the City’s 4R Winnipeg Depots. No ash tree material is to be transported outside city limits in accordance with federal regulation related to emerald ash borer. For more information, see: City of Winnipeg – Emerald Ash Borer.

311 Call Volumes
To date, the city has received nearly 2,000 calls to 311 about fallen trees and branches. The City’s 311 call centre is experiencing higher than normal call volumes.

We greatly appreciate callers’ patience as 311 works on responding to all calls for service, and ask that if your issue is non-urgent please email 311@winnipeg.ca or tweet @cityofwinnipeg. Your request will still be prioritized and dealt with through email and Twitter.

Snow Clearing Update
Crews continue to plow sidewalks on regional streets, collector streets, and bus routes, and are addressing trouble spots throughout the city. Crews are monitoring main streets and will salt where needed to improve traction on roadways.

Snow clearing and salting operations are undertaken in accordance with the Council-approved Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Updates
Response times are being monitored and additional resources will be placed on duty if necessary. WFPS continues to work collaboratively with Manitoba Hydro to answer any power and utility line calls.

Residents can assist in keeping their families safe by reviewing winter safety tips and emergency preparedness tips at City of Winnipeg - EmergWeb.

October 16, 2019