All Winnipeg parks now reopened after October snowstorm cleanup
City officials estimate at least 30,000 city-owned trees were affected by storm
Winnipeg's city-owned parks are all open once again — nearly six weeks after an October storm pummelled the city with heavy, wet snow that damaged thousands of trees.
Due to safety concerns, the city closed the gates of several parks until the broken limbs and weakened trees could be cleared.
King's Park officially reopened on Saturday evening and part of Kildonan Park was made accessible. Vehicle traffic was allowed to access Prairie's Edge restaurant, which reopened after being forced to shut its doors for several weeks.
On Monday, the city declared Kildonan Park fully open, along with the others that had been closed since the Oct. 11-12 storm swept through — St. Vital Park, Crescent Drive Park and Munson Park.
A spokesperson with WOW! Hospitality Concepts, which owns Prairie's Edge, said the company took a $40,000 hit because of the closure but expected it was going to be much worse.
"The park is fully open now — a bit different from when they originally said it would probably not open until into the new year," said company president Doug Stephen.
The storm — which started Oct. 10 and really picked up the next day, before trailing off on Oct. 12 — brought strong winds and wet snow that felled trees and knocked out power for days in some places.
With trees still covered in autumn leaves — and above-freezing temperatures — the moisture-laden snow accumulated in the canopy, weighing heavily on limbs and branches, until many came crashing down.
Officials estimate at least 30,000 city-owned trees were affected by the storm — which doesn't include any trees on private property — and the city forester has said it could take a year to clean it all up.
Crews from Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto came to help local crews clear the debris and take down high-risk trees and limbs.
Although things are nearly back to normal, there are still crews working in neighbourhoods and the full cleanup could take an entire year, city officials said.
They also cautioned people that some frail trees might not have shown obvious signs of weakness and therefore been missed by crews.
"Residents are reminded to be aware of their surroundings at all other parks, especially those with large trees and low branches," a news release from the city said.
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