Tree trouble could have been worse

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Reporting nine downed spruce trees and minimal property damage, the aftermath of Wednesday’s wind storm could have been worse, Jody Boulet said.

 

A 2013 budgetary decision of council to spend $189,900 on upping the city’s urban forestry staff might have been a saving grace, the interim community services director surmised.

“We’ve been able to get out and do a lot of the catch-up that (is part of) the backlog over the last few years, actually dating back to the plow wind we had in July of 2010,” he explained.

“We’ve been able to do some catch-up along those lines, but we’ve also been able to do a lot of preventative work -- a lot of the pruning and tree removals just of trees that were rotten or just didn’t have any life left in them.

“When we get to situations like we had on Wednesday, and those trees weren’t pruned and those measures weren’t taken … we could have a seen a lot more damage.”

The nine downed spruce trees are all in Little Red River Park, which saw the Kinsmen Ski Hill close on Wednesday night due to tree debris and heavy winds.

By Thursday, crews managed to clear the area for skiing to resume.

“We made that area of Little Red River Park the first priority,” Boulet explained.

With warm weather forecast to fill out the weekend, Boulet said that clearing dangers from the balance of the park was a priority for Friday, during which a number of civic workers were seen sawing and chipping downed trees and branches.

“It certainly could have been worse, but at the same time we want to make it priority to make sure that we not only remove the nine that are down, but have a look around the park to make sure there aren’t any that experienced some damage that could be a risk to the public,” Boulet said, adding that he anticipates the park to be busy during the weekend.

We’ve been able to get out and do a lot of the catch-up that (is part of) the backlog over the last few years, actually dating back to the plow wind we had in July of 2010 Jody Boulet

“Any work that they can’t get done by the end of the day, we’ll make sure that it’s free from any areas that park users will be attending.”

Although Boulet notes that they’ve upped efforts significantly this year, crews still “have a lot of work left in their inventory” – work he said will be done more efficiently than in the past.

“We just put a priority system together so we can deal with the areas of most risk or potential hazard, and once we move past those we can continue our preventative measures.”

In addition to downed trees and branches, public works crewmembers were seen scattered throughout the city in the wake of Wednesday’s windstorm making repairs to streetlights.

A number of commercial businesses’ outdoor signs were also seen damaged after Wednesday’s windstorm, most notably the A&W Restaurant in downtown Prince Albert, which saw its large outdoor light-up sign topple over onto the street.

Wednesday wind speeds peaked at about 107 km/h, according to measurements recorded at the municipal airport.

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Little Red River Park

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