Workers

About 4,000 trees in Fredericton were uprooted or damaged during post-tropical storm Arthur. (Daniel McHardie/CBC)

The City of Fredericton started cleaning up residential tree debris from post-tropical storm Arthur on Monday, but the job could take more than a week to complete, officials say.

Residents had been asked to have their debris at their curbside by Monday morning for pick up.

"Because once we go down your street, we don't intend to come back," said Don Murray, the city's forester.

"We're trying to put an end to this and get cleaned up and get back to our normal routine. So it's a one-time shot to get your material out," he said.

Murray says crews made good progress on Monday and he hopes to see collection complete within a week.

"I'm worried it might take longer than that. What we're asking people it to be patient," he said.

Some residents have been taking advantage of the cleanup efforts.

"We've had a few surprises where people have done some actual land clearing and hauled some big material out. So we've had to talk to those people. That's not what this program is about," said Murray.

'This program is set up to deal with storm-damaged trees. It's not for land clearing, it's not for that bundle of debris in your backyard that you've kept there for five years.'- Don Murray, city forester

"This program is set up to deal with storm-damaged trees. It's not for land clearing, it's not for that bundle of debris in your backyard that you've kept there for five years."

The city will assess if it needs more crews for the cleanup in the days to come, Murray said.

The debris is supposed to be in two piles — one for larger items, such as trees and limbs, and another for smaller branches, with leaves in compostable paper bags.

Ann Shannon Mauber says she cleaned up the mess in her yard as soon as the storm cleared.

"I came out on [July 6], the day after the storm, and cleaned it up and put it in the bags over there at the end of the road. And that's where the debris sat — for 23 days now," she said.

City crews had been busy clearing downed trees from roads and power lines, but six crews set out on Monday with contractors to collect the larger piles, while Trius is collecting the smaller piles.

Shannon Mauber says she understands it's a big job, but while she admits she's no expert, she thinks more than six crews should be assigned to the cleanup.

"It's going to take a long time. Each pile is so huge. Each pile is going to take many trips, many truck loads," she said.

Any debris left after the curbside collection finishes will be the responsibility of the property owners.

The three tree debris depots will remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Aug. 11.

The tree disposal sites include:

  • The empty lot next to the car wash on Two Nations Crossing, near the city’s parks and trees depot.
  • The municipal compost facility at the old landfill on Beek Court near the Vanier Industrial Park.
  • The former Silverwood lagoon, opposite Orchard Drive.

Anyone living in a local service district or Hanwell is asked to call the Department of Environment before noon to schedule a pickup. The number to call is 453-2838.

An estimated 4,000 trees in Fredericton were broken or toppled over by the high winds and heavy rains Arthur delivered to the region on July 5.

That does not include trees on private property or in city parks. The city is responsible for 30,000 street and ornamental park trees.

The tree debris will eventually be made into a biofuel, officials said.