Winnipeg mayor declares local state of emergency as city recovers from snow storm
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Mayor Bowman said the declaration will allow the city to access additional resources and funding. (Photo: Jeremie Charron/CTV News Winnipeg)
Published Sunday, October 13, 2019 6:04PM CST
Last Updated Sunday, October 13, 2019 6:55PM CST
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman has declared a state of local emergency for the City of Winnipeg following an October snow storm that has wreaked havoc across the province.
“The City of Winnipeg has experienced an unprecedented weather event with strong winds and heavy snowfall that has required and continues to require prompt action to prevent or limit harm or damage to the safety, health or welfare of residents, and to prevent property damage,” read the mayor’s declaration.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Bowman said the declaration will allow the city to access additional resources and funding.
“Along with its existing powers, the city will be able to use the authority 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, as well as private trees that have fallen onto public property,” said Bowman.
The city estimates about 30,000 trees were impacted by the October snow storm -- and it anticipates clean-up efforts will take a number of weeks or more.
“This event has already has significant financial impact for the City of Winnipeg and the costs are only expected to grow in the coming weeks,” said Bowman.
The city said it has not yet determined the cost of clean-up due to the storm -- but it estimates the cost will be above $10 million.
Bowman said he will be introducing a motion at Tuesday’s executive policy committee meeting to apply to the province for disaster financial assistance, which will help offset city costs related to the storm.
Since the storm hit on Thursday, the city has been working to clear downed trees, debris, and take care of all storm-related issues. The city has hired contractors to assist with the removal of city trees.
Crews are focusing their efforts on priority locations where branches or trees are blocking streets, are in contact with hydro lines, or presenting other public safety risks.
“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,” said Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Asst. Chief Jay Shaw, who also runs the city’s Emergency Operations Centre.
“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.”
The city said if a tree has fallen on public property the property owner is responsible for its removal. However, a tree is in contact with a power line, residents are asked to call 911.
On Saturday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister declared a state of emergency for the province, allowing Manitoba Hydro to access additional resources to help over 30,000 customers in Manitoba still without power.