Snow removal causing damage to some residential trees

The snow continues to fall in Winnipeg and crews are hard at work keeping streets clear, but some residents are concerned about what is being left behind when crews leave.

Debbie Ristimaki lives in Bridgwater. She said during the city’s latest snow-clearing effort a mound of snow was piled up around a tree in her front yard, leaving behind some damage.

“These branches…this whole front end is gone now,” said Ristimaki. “We’ve never had (damage) to this extent in the past.”

Winnipeg has received close to 100 centimeters of snow in the past three months, and boulevards, side streets and back lanes are starting to fill up.

Ristimaki said snow removal crews have been pushing snow and ice onto her front lawn.

“You try to maintain your property, you want to take care of the trees,” said Ristimaki. “(The city wants to plant) a million trees, but we don’t do enough to take care of the trees we have.”

City Councillor for Waverley West Janice Lukes said she has received many calls from residents in her ward who are concerned about high snow piles and damage to trees.

“There has been some damage to some trees, branches have been broken off, there have been some nicks into some trunks of trees,” said Lukes.

Lukes said in the last city budget a lot of money was put towards maintaining and planting trees in Winnipeg.

She said protecting trees while removing snow is one of the challenges of living in a winter city.

“In some of these newer neighbourhoods where we’ve got smaller lot sizes, it’s incredibly difficult to store the snow, and the trees are feeling the stress,” said Lukes.

Tree damage has been an issue in other areas as well.

Transcona City Councillor Shawn Nason has noticed some broken branches due to snow clearing, but said crews have been working hard to keep streets clean.

“Individuals are working some unheavenly hours, 14 plus hour days trying to keep our streets moving and in safe condition, it’s a difficult balancing act,” said Nason.

Ristimaki would like to see the snow carted away, instead of piled up on lawns and boulevards.

“I get there’s challenges, this year in particular, but there has to be a better way, and I think taking it away is perhaps the way to go,” said Ristimaki.

The city said it will be addressing high snow piles and hauling away snow in the coming weeks.

The forestry department said if a tree is damaged on city property call 311, and if a tree is damaged on private property, make a property damage claim on the city’s website.

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