Calgary, AB,

City concludes systematic pass of Calgary communities to pick up tree debris

After September’s snowstorm, The City of Calgary committed to visiting all 227 communities in Calgary to help remove tree debris. This work has now been completed three weeks ahead of schedule, in part due to good weather.

City crews, along with wildland firefighters from Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development,  and contractors worked seven days a week to ensure tree debris was removed from streets and alleys before the coming cold.

“We are extremely proud to have completed this work in just four weeks,” says Nico Bernard, manager of The City’s Tactical Operations Centre. “We can now focus our attention on removing tree debris from parks and some major roads, as well as continuing to cut down branches that pose a public safety threat.”

The work entailed a systematic pass through all residential areas to pick up tree debris piled by citizens at the edge of their properties, as well as debris found along roadsides, alleys, and high-traffic pathways. More than 19 million kilograms (or 19,000 tonnes) of debris from 25,000 loads have been taken to City landfills for mulching.

If citizens still have tree debris, they can take advantage of the following disposal options:

  • City landfills:  Fees are waived for all tree debris not mixed with garbage until Nov. 9.
  • Leaf & Pumpkin drop-offs:  32 temporary collection sites open until Nov. 9 for tree debris, leaves and pumpkins.
  • Small branches (no thicker than three inches) cut into three-foot lengths can be tied together and left inside black carts, or set next to carts for pick up if bins are full.

Citizens are asked not to create dump sites in parks or other areas of Calgary. Illegal dumping is subject to a $250 fine.

Bernard says while the systematic neighbourhood pick-up is over, there is still significant work to do to recover from the early snow and restore the urban forest.

“There are over 500,000 public trees in Calgary, and preliminary assessments indicate that about 50% have been damaged,” says Bernard. “Some trees will require corrective pruning, which Parks will begin right away and continue until the end of next year. Others will need to be replanted, which we will start in the spring and may take up to two years to complete.”

Bernard says that pruning work is prioritized according to the impact on the tree. Public safety hazards are dealt with first and are removed immediately to prevent injury or damage to property.

Bernard asks citizens not to remove ribbons placed on trees, as they indicate a tree has received a preliminary assessment and requires pruning to build resiliency into the tree. Trees that likely won’t survive, but are not yet hazards, will have signs posted to indicate removal at a later date.

“Our commitment to Calgarians is to let citizens know through signage when a tree must be removed. Ribbons do not indicate that a tree is coming out; rather, they signify that the tree needs to be pruned.”

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