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Winnipeg’s Storm Clean-Up Could Take a Year, Replanting Could Take Five

October 17, 2019 2:44 PM | News

Martha Barwinsky

City forester Martha Barwinsky provides media with an update on the storm clean-up on Thursday, October 17, 2019. (CHRISD.CA)

WINNIPEG — The devastation caused by last week’s early winter snowstorm could take about a year to clean up and roughly five years to replant the impacted trees.

City forester Martha Barwinsky said Thursday that roughly 30,000 of the city’s public trees were destroyed by the snow, ice and wind that ravaged parts of southern Manitoba a week ago.

“This weather event is unprecedented,” Barwinsky said. “When we saw the freezing rain coming… the trees were going to be in trouble. Then we had the wet snow added on to that and the high winds.”

Tree - Storm Clean-Up

City crews clean up tree branches from the River Heights area on Thursday. (CHRISD.CA)

Barwinsky estimates about 10 percent of the city’s public tree canopy was impacted by the storm.

“It is absolutely devasting,” she said. “The urban forest has suffered a devastating impact from this storm — on top of the high numbers for Dutch elm disease and the losses we know we’re going to incur for that. And on top of the upcoming losses due to emerald ash borer.”

Crews from Regina, Saskatoon and Calgary have been called in to assist city staff on the ground, who are already working around-the-clock.

The city is asking residents to take any tree debris from their private property to the Brady Road Landfill or 4R Winnipeg Depots. Trees down on public property can be reported by contacting 311.

Downed power lines should be reported to 911 and residents should stay clear of such debris until Manitoba Hydro crews can arrive to assess the situation.