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Cleanup crews still going strong

Though the ice is now off the trees, the damage caused by December’s ice storm is evident all over the city, and it’s going to take weeks or even months before cleanup crews can get to all the areas that need attention.

“All of the imminent safety issues that were stopping residents from getting in and out of their houses have been resolved,” said general manager of public works Rod Keller.

“To say that all dangerous tree limbs have been cleared, that’s not possible.”

Public works staff are focusing their cleanup efforts on forestry issues, with around 450 locations across the city that need some sort of attention, said Keller.

People can expect the cleanup process to take six to eight weeks, and “there still will be tree trimming that will go on long into the spring,” he said.

The issues range from broken branches to completely uprooted trees.

“Hangers” – broken tree limbs that have yet to fall – are one of the biggest concerns, said Keller.

The city is following a systematic strategy to address the issues, beginning in areas where call volumes have been the highest and working out from there.

As of Monday, crews were working in the downtown areas near Guelph Collegiate and St. George’s Park.

There was also a crew working in the west end of the city, in the area bounded by Fife, Paisley and Whitelaw roads and the Hanlon Parkway.

The crews downtown can be expected to work their way down to Royal City Park and into the Old University Neighbourhood south of the Speed River, while the crew in the west will make its way north of Willow Road and eventually around to Waverley Drive and Victoria Road.

Newer neighbourhoods in the south end will be reached last, although the plan could change if high winds or more snow arrive to bring down more trees, said Keller.

The work is being done by both city staff and private contractors, when they are available, he said.

“We have been challenged somewhat with the number of contractors available because of the greater need in Toronto,” Keller said.

Meanwhile, parks are open, but people are being warned to be careful out there. “Just be very, very cautious of where you’re walking,” said Keller.

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