Storm FAQ

General

Why did the City declare a state of local emergency?

On October 13, the City declared a state of local emergency.

This declaration provides a number of benefits to emergency responders, including helping the City acquire additional resources to deal with the unprecedented weather event and allowing crews to gain access to private property to deal with both public trees that have fallen onto private property, and private trees fallen onto public property.

What areas of the City were most impacted?

All areas of the city were impacted by the storm in one way or another. The majority of tree damage is in core areas and mature neighbourhoods.

Have any City-run parks been affected by the recent storm?

Following an initial risk assessment of City-run parks, the decision has been made to temporarily close the following regional parks for public safety reasons:

  • St. Vital Park

It’s expected that these regional parks may be closed for a number of weeks.

Trees

How many trees were impacted by the recent snow event?

Conservative estimates indicate approximately 30,000 City-owned trees, or 10 percent of the urban tree canopy, were impacted by the recent snowstorm.

What is the difference between a publicly-owned tree and a privately-owned tree?

A publicly-owned tree is one that is on a boulevard or median, or in a City-owned park. If you have a tree in your yard, it is considered a privately-owned tree.

How long will it take to clean-up City-owned trees?

This will take a long time to clean up acute damage – maybe up to a year.

The recovery of the urban tree canopy could take up to five years when we factor in replacing the trees we’ve lost to the storm, and when we factor in replacements associated with Dutch elm disease and the Emerald Ash Borer.

Why will it take up to five years to replace all the trees we’ve lost to the storm?

The City is working against both storm damage and the high number of elm and ash trees that need to be removed due to disease. In addition, the local nurseries that usually supply our trees have also sustained significant damage, which compounds the situation.

How much will the clean-up cost?

Clean-up costs are estimated in the millions of dollars.

A City-owned tree has failed – what should I do?

If a tree is in contact with a power line, call 911 immediately.

If a tree is blocking a public right-of-way (including a road or sidewalk), but isn’t touching a power line, call 311.

If a tree on public property has fallen, but is not touching a power line or blocking the road, contact 311 online.

It’s important that you provide as much accurate detail as possible, including pictures if available, so service requests can be properly triaged.

Should I send 311 a picture of the damaged tree?

It’s important that you provide as much accurate detail as possible. Please include pictures of the tree when contacting 311 online.

Should I contact 311 to follow-up on my service request?

No. Please make only one request per location. Please do not contact 311 for a follow-up as the location has been logged and crews will get there as soon as possible.

A public tree has damaged my property, what should I do?

If your property has sustained damage from a public tree during this weather event, please report the damages to your property insurer to determine whether homeowners/tenants insurance coverage would apply. If you believe the City is responsible for the damage caused by a public tree, you can file a claim against the City of Winnipeg.

Notification of a potential claim may be submitted in writing, by phone, email, Canada Post, or fax to 311, as soon as possible.

Claims should include:

  • A detailed description of your property damage
  • Documentation to support a claim such as: photos, receipts and estimates
  • Reasons outlining why they believe the City of Winnipeg is responsible for the damage

A privately-owned tree is damaged – what should I do?

Contact 911 immediately if the tree is in contact with a power line.

Beyond this, fallen trees or branches on private property are the responsibility of the property owner to clean up.

Please note that not all of these trees will be total losses. Just because a tree has been damaged, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a candidate to be removed. If the tree is not obviously irreparable, resist the urge to do more than minor pruning. Resdidents are encouraged to contact a professional arborist to assess the damage and formulate a plan.

Please exercise extreme caution if addressing fallen trees or branches that have fallen on your property.

What do I do with the debris from fallen trees or branches? Where can I take it to be disposed of?

Do not leave fallen trees or branches from private property on the public boulevard. Instead, please bring tree and branch debris to the Brady Road Resource Management Facility or to one of the City’s 4R Winnipeg Depots to dispose of them free of charge during operating hours. Tree and branch debris must be separated from other materials prior to dropping it off.

The Summit Road Landfill remains open for residents and commercial haulers dropping off storm-related wood debris only, and will operate on the following hours effective Monday, November 18:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday & Thursday: Closed
  • Weekends: Closed

Residents are reminded to properly secure their wood debris if taking it to one of these locations, and to always obey the provincial Highway Traffic Act.

Residents can also place small tree branches and tree debris in their yard waste collection. For more information on yard waste parameters, please see: City of Winnipeg – Yard Waste Collection.

Can I use the fallen trees and branches as firewood?

If you are certain the debris is not elm or ash wood, you may use the branches as fire wood.

The Forest Health Protection Act and Regulations prohibit the storage of elm wood for any purpose. The restriction on the storage of elm wood is necessary as the elm bark beetle uses intact wood as a site to lay eggs and develop a new generation of elm bark beetles. For more information, see: City of Winnipeg – Dutch Elm Disease.

Residents are advised to dispose of ash trees directly to the Brady Road Resource Management Facility or to one of the City’s 4R Winnipeg Depots. No ash tree material is to be transported outside city limits in accordance with federal regulation related to emerald ash borer. For more information, see: City of Winnipeg – Emerald Ash Borer.

Why is it important to properly dispose of downed elm trees?

Remnants of elm trees that are not disposed of properly can exacerbate the spread of Dutch elm disease (DED).

The elm bark beetle uses intact wood as a site to lay eggs and breed a new generation of beetles, who – if the discarded wood is already infected with DED fungus – will carry the fungus on their bodies and spread it to healthy trees as they move around.

The best ways to dispose of elm wood are by chipping it into pieces no more than 5 cm in diameter (in any direction) or by taking it to Brady Landfill.

It is illegal to transport wood for any other reason, or to store it on private property unless one of the following conditions (set out by the Province of Manitoba Forest Health Protection Act) is met:

  • All bark is removed from the wood;
  • The wood has been treated by either kiln drying or heating to 56 degrees Celsius for more than 30 minutes;
  • The wood is chipped to less than 5 cm diameter in any direction; or
  • A storage permit is obtained from the Public Works Department.

What is the City going to do with all the collected storm-related wood?

All the storm-related wood waste currently being collected and deposited at these sites will be processed and beneficially reused. One such use involves chipping and grinding the wood waste into chips and mixing it with biosolids and street sweepings from streets maintenance operations. The resulting soil-like material is then used to landscape, or cap, finished landfill areas.

Wood chips are also used in the leaf and yard waste composting activities at the Brady Road Resource Management Facility.

Waste disposal

What do I do with the debris from fallen trees or branches? Where can I take it to be disposed of?

Do not leave fallen trees or branches from private property on the public boulevard. Instead, please bring tree and branch debris to the Brady Road Resource Management Facility or to one of the City’s 4R Winnipeg Depots to dispose of them free of charge during operating hours. Tree and branch debris must be separated from other materials prior to dropping it off.

The Summit Road Landfill remains open for residents and commercial haulers dropping off storm-related wood debris only, and will operate on the following hours effective Monday, November 4:

  • Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Closed Sundays

Residents are reminded to properly secure their wood debris if taking it to one of these locations, and to always obey the provincial Highway Traffic Act.

Residents can also place small tree branches and tree debris in their yard waste collection. For more information on yard waste parameters, please see: City of Winnipeg – Yard Waste Collection.

Can I use the fallen trees and branches as firewood?

The Forest Health Protection Act and Regulations prohibit the storage of elm wood for any purpose. The restriction on the storage of elm wood is necessary as the elm bark beetle uses intact wood as a site to lay eggs and develop a new generation of elm bark beetles. For more information, see: City of Winnipeg – Dutch Elm Disease.

Residents are advised to dispose of ash trees directly to the Brady Road Resource Management Facility or to one of the City’s 4R Winnipeg Depots. No ash tree material is to be transported outside city limits in accordance with federal regulation related to emerald ash borer. For more information, see: City of Winnipeg – Emerald Ash Borer.

Why is it important to properly dispose of downed elm trees?

Remnants of elm trees that are not disposed of properly can exacerbate the spread of Dutch elm disease (DED).

The elm bark beetle uses intact wood as a site to lay eggs and breed a new generation of beetles, who – if the discarded wood is already infected with DED fungus – will carry the fungus on their bodies and spread it to healthy trees as they move around.

The best ways to dispose of elm wood are by chipping it into pieces no more than 5 cm in diameter (in any direction) or by taking it to Brady Landfill.

It is illegal to transport wood for any other reason, or to store it on private property unless one of the following conditions (set out by the Province of Manitoba Forest Health Protection Act) is met:

  • All bark is removed from the wood;
  • The wood has been treated by either kiln drying or heating to 56 degrees Celsius for more than 30 minutes;
  • The wood is chipped to less than 5 cm diameter in any direction; or
  • A storage permit is obtained from the Public Works Department.

What is the City going to do with all the collected storm-related wood?

All the storm-related wood waste currently being collected and deposited at these sites will be processed and beneficially reused. One such use involves chipping and grinding the wood waste into chips and mixing it with biosolids and street sweepings from streets maintenance operations. The resulting soil-like material is then used to landscape, or cap, finished landfill areas.

Wood chips are also used in the leaf and yard waste composting activities at the Brady Road Resource Management Facility.

Electrical inspections

What are homeowners’ responsibilities if meters are not up to code?

The meter is Manitoba Hydro’s property; it will be replaced if it is outdated.

If the meter socket is damaged or unusable, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to have it replaced. This replacement work is subject to current Manitoba Building Code requirements and must receive the City’s approval. Once compliant, our inspections team will notify Manitoba Hydro to install/reinstall a meter.

If there are updates to codes, how does the City inform potential affected homeowners?

Code updates have no impact on installations that were completed under previous versions of the codes that were in effect at the time the work was done. However, if someone is upgrading, replacing, or rebuilding systems, the updates would need to be brought up to current code and there could be some requirement to improve existing elements that could have an impact on the health and safety of building occupants.

I discovered knob and tube wiring in my home. How long do I have to fix it?

There are no regulations regarding the mandatory removal/replacement of knob and tube systems. This is generally an insurance industry issue.

Who should I contact for emergency electrical service inspections?

For housing-related emergency electrical service inspections on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. please email or call 204-986 -5300 to schedule an inspection.

For commercial-related emergency electrical service inspections on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. please call 204-986-5190 to schedule an inspection.

For all after hours emergency inspections please contact 311.