Mayor irked storm debris put on roads Storm damage also forces cancellation of charity run

Mayor Brian Bowman tugged on Winnipeggers’ sense of civic duty Friday as he urged people to lend a hand in the massive storm cleanup, and he chastised those who have dumped debris onto sidewalks and roads.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/10/2019 (1197 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Mayor Brian Bowman tugged on Winnipeggers’ sense of civic duty Friday as he urged people to lend a hand in the massive storm cleanup, and he chastised those who have dumped debris onto sidewalks and roads.

“Some individual property owners are taking debris on their private property, for example, from their backyard, and simply placing them on the street. I just want to remind everybody that if you think that is helping – give your head a shake,” Bowman said.

“It puts people’s safety at risk. It makes it much more difficult for our crews to focus on their priorities of life safety and other clearance they need to do, and it is also not the Winnipeg way. The way that we respond in times of crisis, in times of emergency, we all have a role to play in the community.”

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Cleanup of the city's broken trees could extend into 2020, the city said.

He said city is working to get help from other municipalities because the cleanup of downed trees and branches is expected to stretch into next year. More than 30,000 trees on public land have been damaged. Thousands more on private property took a beating.

“We need everybody to do their part… If you have a truck, lend a hand to your family, lend a hand to your neighbours,” Bowman said.

Damage from the storm forced the cancellation of the annual Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service charity run, which is in its eighth year and raises money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Jonathan Torchia, who founded the run and is its director, announced Friday that Sunday’s event could not proceed.

“It makes it much more difficult for our crews to focus on their priorities of life safety and other clearance they need to do, and it is also not the Winnipeg way. The way that we respond in times of crisis, in times of emergency, we all have a role to play in the community.” – Mayor Brian Bowman

Organizers had been in close contact with city officials due to the number of downed trees and power lines on the route. The city advised organizers the event should be cancelled due to safety concerns.

“Safety is our first priority for our participants and volunteers,” Torchia said. “While this decision was not an easy one to make, we know we have to do what’s best for our community.”

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Mayor Brian Bowman is asking residents not to place broken tree limbs on sidewalks or streets. 'It puts people's safety at risk.'

The storm, which began Oct. 10 and extended into the Thanksgiving long weekend, damaged 800 kilometres of power lines, 100 transmission towers and thousands of utility poles.

Roughly 4,600 Manitobans, including 380 in Winnipeg, remained without power as of Friday. At the height of the storm, more than 150,000 Manitobans had no power, setting a record for customers without power in a one-day span.

The utility said it had restored more than 97 per cent of almost 260,000 outage calls by Friday. Crews had replaced 1,600 poles and 400 kilometres of power lines. Most of the remaining outages are on First Nations and remote areas in central Manitoba and the Interlake region.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Precariously positioned broken branches abound on Wellington Crescent along the planned Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Half Marathon route, forcing cancellation of the race.

About 900 Manitoba Hydro workers continue to repair the damage. Since many of them are away from their homes, there was the possibility they’d have trouble voting in Monday’s federal election.

Manitoba Hydro worked with Elections Canada to ensure staff would be able to vote in the area where they’re working.

“We had always intended that our staff would get time off in order to participate in their election process, but this development saves hours of travel time allowing our hardworking field employees to both vote and continue to work to restoring service to our customers with a minimum of disruption,” Hydro president and CEO Jay Grewal said in a release on Friday.

 

— with files from Kevin Rollason and The Canadian Press

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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