What is the City doing to clear ice from my street and sidewalk? Since the December 22 ice storm, the City has salted all roads six times, with the latest application on January 15. On a daily basis, sidewalk conditions are being monitored and maintained with salt and sand or plowing, as required. This maintenance work will continue, however, the freeze and thaw weather cycles we continue to experience are hindering the long term effect of sand and salt.
Why are some streets clear, and others not? Primary and secondary roads will generally be clear of ice and snow first because higher road traffic increases the melting effect of salt. There are also some streets and sidewalks that were cut off from maintenance after the ice storm because of fallen trees and branches. Winter maintenance work continues to improve these areas.
Who should I call about a road or sidewalk problem? Residents who wish to report a road or sidewalk problem should call our Customer Contact Centre at 905.477.5530 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Customer Contact Centre will forward your report to the right city staff for follow up.
Urban Tree Canopy Recovery Plan
Why was the entire tree removed when only a couple of branches were damaged? City contractors assisting in the ice storm cleanup are fully staffed with certified professional arborists. Due to the large number of damaged trees across the City we are relying on these qualified contractors to inspect the trees for damage caused by the storm, which may not be obvious to the untrained eye. Following the contractor’s inspection, they determine if a tree requires removal based on the parameters set by the City. In many cases, the number of branches requiring removal, large wounds in the trunk or other types of damage make a tree unsafe and its removal is the only option. Please be assured all contractors working on City trees have been instructed to ensure that safe, viable trees remain standing.
What type of tree debris is the City collecting and what is the responsibility of the homeowner? Due to the significant amount of damage to close to 20% of all City trees, it will take over two months to complete the removal of tree debris. Residents are urged to move all tree debris to the curb right away to ensure it is picked up by City crews; it is difficult for the City to know exactly which day/week crews will be on any given street. The City has planned the work by dividing the City into grids and assigning crews to specific areas. Our Ice Storm Recovery page outlines the various areas, what has been completed and what is currently underway. It is the responsibility of the homeowner, or their contractor, to remove and dispose of debris from full private tree removals. The City will not be collecting and disposing of this debris.
Why is tree debris collection taking so long? Collecting all the tree debris across the City, which has resulted from the recent ice storm, is a large, labour-intensive task that is affected by weather conditions. Some areas were impacted more than others and will take longer to clean up. Two levels of work are taking place at the same time:
Areas with safety issues (hanging limbs, access blockages, etc.) are the first priority for City crews. Where space allows, crews are temporarily storing debris on boulevards in order to speed up removal of tree hazards. Crews will follow up in the upcoming weeks to collect and chip all remaining tree debris located on City boulevards.
The City’s waste collection provider, Miller Waste, also has crews collecting smaller tree debris – twigs, branches and small tree limbs less than six feet in length only – every Monday throughout January and into February 2014, if necessary. Please be patient as the crews make their way across the City to collect the debris as quickly as possible.
Can I move tree debris outside of Markham? A significant number of the trees affected by the storm are ash trees. Since it is difficult to identify what species of tree debris is from, and to comply with emerald ash borer regulated areas, we ask residents to keep all tree debris – including branches, firewood sized material and roots - within York Region. For more information on emerald ash borer management and movement of ash tree firewood, contact the CFIA at 1.866.463.6017 or www.inspection.gc.ca.
Why don’t we use highschool students/volunteers to help clean up the debris? Markham is using experienced and professional City crews, forestry contractors and waste collection contractors for the collection of the tree debris. There is a significant amount of training, skill and safety equipment required to operate the tools and machinery – chainsaws, chippers, garbage trucks, etc. - required to clean up this type of debris. There are also many Occupational Health & Safety and Worker’s Compensation, liability and insurance requirements and issues related to this type of work.
Some of my debris was collected but there are still branches left behind. Why wasn’t everything picked up at the same time? The large, labour-intensive job of collecting all the tree debris across the City is being done in stages and as quickly as possible. Miller Waste is assisting with smaller tree debris pickup on Mondays only. The City has 16 aerial crews working to remove overhanging limbs, obstructions and severely damaged trees. In addition, there are eight ground crews collecting, chipping and disposing of large tree debris. Upon completion of all aerial work, all 24 City crews will be deployed as ground crews to complete the City wide cleanup of tree debris. View the PDF map of the areas in the city where crews are currently working, and check the Street Guide to identify the zone in which you live.
What if I don’t want to wait for the City to clean up my tree debris? If residents want to get rid of their tree debris right away rather than waiting for the City to remove it, they can drop it off at the Bloomington Yard Waste Depot in Richmond Hill, which is open Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM and Saturday, 9 AM to 4 PM until further notice.