Manitoba

Winnipeg pegs cost from freak snowstorm at nearly $10M

An unusual fall snowstorm is contributing to the city's deficit, but the shortfall isn't as bad as expected. Winnipeg is now projecting a year-end deficit of $6.7 million, which is an improvement from October's estimate of $9.2 million.

Deficit forecast improving, but city may need to dip into the reserves

Crews work to clean up the mess left behind from a massive October snowstorm in Winnipeg. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

The City of Winnipeg says the devastating snowstorm in fall that pummelled trees and power lines has so far cost nearly $10 million to clean up. 

The unexpected storm is contributing to the city's deficit, but the shortfall isn't as bad as expected. Winnipeg is now projecting a year-end deficit of $6.7 million, which is an improvement from October's estimate of $9.2 million.

The city's deficit forecast improved because savings were found in various departments, finance committee chair Scott Gillingham said in a news release.

But Winnipeg may need to dip into its financial stabilization reserve fund to balance the books — as required under legislation — by the end of the year, he said.

The city's deficit calculations, as of late November, do not include any disaster financial assistance funding from the provincial government. The province has yet to announce whether the city will get money from the program.

The two-day dump of heavy snow and rain in October damaged thousands of trees and many power lines. Crews from neighbouring jurisdictions descended on Winnipeg to help the city clean up.

Snow removal in the red

It cost $4.8 million to clean up the trees and branches, and $1.3 million for snow removal and ice control.

A report on the operational and financial impacts of the storm is expected later this month. 

The city is forecasting a $6.2-million surplus for Winnipeg Transit.

The public works department is estimating a $46.2 million bill for snow removal and ice controls — which is $11.4 million higher than budgeted. The city blames the higher expense on above-average snowfall last February. 

More details on the city's financial update will be released Thursday at the standing policy committee on finance.

With files from Sean Kavanagh

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