Repair of 11,000 Storm-Damaged Trees Nears Completion

September 2nd, 2014 by Comment button No Comments »

While most of us are enjoying the final weeks of summer, and winter is a distant memory, the town continues to address and clean up tree damage caused by the devastating ice storm of December 22, 2013. The storm left its mark in the town’s woodlands, and forestry crews continue the long journey to clear trails and woodland parks of the debris left in the storm’s wake.

“This was the most significant winter storm in the GTA in the last 35 years. In an event like this, priority number one is maintaining public safety,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “The town’s forestry section and Oakville Hydro worked tirelessly and efficiently to clear potential danger from public areas. This work continues and we are well on our way to completing our restoration efforts.”

Over the last eight months forestry crews have focused on the 11,000 damaged and downed trees caused by the storm, completing high priority work on the road allowance, in active parks and in the town’s 280 woodlands. Work to clear remaining broken limbs and branches that pose safety hazards is ongoing in Sixteen Mile Creek trail.

“Cleanup so far has focused on making sure the trails are safe and accessible. It will take some time to clear the woodlands of the remaining debris. While safety is still our priority, some debris is left on the forest floor to help foster natural regrowth and regeneration,” said Chris Mark, director of Parks and Open Space.

The town’s ice storm response is prioritized based on an industry risk rating system. Trees and limbs that have the potential to fall and cause injury to people or property are priority. The public road allowance and active parks are addressed first, followed by woodland parks and trails.

Quick ice storm facts:
- 11,000 damaged municipal trees ― more than is normally reported in a typical three-year period
- 1,300 downed trees
- 30 forestry crews devoted to ice storm response
- 114,000 town-owned street trees inspected and hazards addressed
- 1,900 km of laneways and 900 km of sidewalks inspected and cleared
- 342 active parks inspected and cleared
- 280 woodlands including 300km of trails inspected and hazards addressed
- 300km of rear yard woodland fence lines inspected and hazards addressed

Due to the magnitude of the ice storm recovery efforts, some Forestry programs and services are temporarily reduced or delayed until 2015, including replacement of street trees felled by the storm, and the removal and replacement of street ash trees as part of the town’s Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) management program. Some street tree plantings will continue throughout the fall of 2014. As well, a community tree planting event is scheduled for September 27 at Oakville Park as part of TD Tree Days.

For more information visit the ice storm response page at oakville.ca.

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