A strip is being shaved into the brush line that stretches across Prince Albert, between about 19th Street and 17th Street.
A handful of city councillors joined Mayor Greg Dionne in watching the brush mulcher begin the project on Thursday morning.
‚ÄúWatch it attack that tree,‚ÄĚ Dionne said, gleefully interrupting himself to point out a small tree becoming relegated to mulch in the matter of seconds.
The brush line has been ‚Äúunmanaged for years,‚ÄĚ providing a fire and public safety hazard to the public -- particularly in the west flat area where the brush line meets residential fences.
‚ÄúNow, we‚Äôre going to manage the growth, and this is the machine that‚Äôs going to clean it for us,‚ÄĚ Dionne concluded.
Local contractor Borysiuk Contracting was awarded the tender, with company owner Kyle Borysiuk expecting to see his staff work through the weekend to finish the project by early next week.
‚ÄúThe machine is designed to cut trees as they stand and chew them up where they fall,‚ÄĚ he explained.
A 12-foot strip will be cut along the residential property line, which in addition to mitigating a fire hazard will open up sightlines to deter unwanted behaviour.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve had some incidents where kids were going through and they had their knapsacks stolen,‚ÄĚ Dionne said. ‚ÄúThe people who walk here are concerned.‚ÄĚ
Although police may not be able to drive the strip in their vehicles, the levelled section of brush opens up sight lines from each adjoining avenue.
Coun. Mark Tweidt‚Äôs election campaign included cleaning up this strip of brush ‚Äď particularly in behind the Open Door Community Church of the Nazarene, where drug users are known to congregate.
Now, we‚Äôre going to manage the growth, and this is the machine that‚Äôs going to clean it for us, Greg Dionne
Mulching up the 12-foot strip is a good start to cleaning up the area, Tweidt said on Thursday, but is not the end-all.
Coun. Ted Zurakowsi said that he‚Äôs fielded some concerns about the brush line behind the Diefenbaker House Museum, which the brush mulcher should help remedy.
In addition to mulching up trees and brush, the mulcher operate has a number of obstacles to overcome through the weeklong project, Borysiuk said.
An abundance of garbage as large as vehicle engines joins tents and other debris that will have to be cleaned up separately.