(Derecho 2022 – Stittsville. Hydro crew members on-site May 22, 2022 to make reparations to downed and tangled hydro wires and replace snapped hydro poles. A small snapshot of what our Ottawa Hydro crews and Public Works staff had to deal with across Ottawa. Photo: Stittsville Central)
Since the storm on May 21, City of Ottawa Public Works staff have been fully deployed to support recovery and clean-up. The response has required a tremendous level of dedicated work and coordination across Public Works. As a result, many regular maintenance activities were suspended or delayed to allow staff to focus on the clean-up work required after the storm.
The City’s top priority after the storm was public safety. Immediate recovery efforts were focused on supporting our hydro partners in reinstating power to the residents of Ottawa. Public Works also provided support for organic waste disposal, worked to maintain traffic and road safety, and immediately began to undertake debris removal, prioritizing highly impacted areas. The City is transitioning to the next phase of storm recovery, with a continued focus on priority forestry operations while winding-down debris management activities in order to facilitate the resumption of routine maintenance and operations.
Road, Sidewalk and Curbside Clean-up Efforts
As of June 10, Public Works has collected debris from over 10,000 lane kilometers of our city’s roadways, and a first pass for curbside debris collection has been completed city-wide. That is more kilometers than it takes to drive across Canada, from the east to west coast. Crews have conducted, at minimum, a first pass of special storm-related debris collection on all City streets.
Much progress has been made since the storm, and debris collection operations are ongoing. This week, (June 13 to 17), staff will be completing a second pass of special storm-related debris collection. Second and third passes have already begun in the most highly impacted areas, including Navan, Pineglen, Uplands and Stittsville.
Since the storm, Public Works has provided special curbside collection of storm related debris. In most areas of the city, the need for collection of storm related debris is now far less, and Public Works is planning for a gradual return to normal curbside debris collection.
Gradual Return to Normal Curbside Debris Collection
For large storm related tree debris, we ask that residents bring remaining storm related tree debris to the curb by Friday June 24. This will allow staff to complete a final pass using heavy equipment. Rest assured, Public Works will continue to assist residents in the hardest hit areas as needed and will continue to address service requests as they arise.
For remaining smaller branches and debris, we ask residents to package these in properly sized yard waste bags or bundled for regular weekly leaf and yard waste collection. For further leaf and yard waste set-out information, visit ottawa.ca/greenbin.
The disposal of organic storm-related organic debris at the Trail Waste Facility continues to be free of charge until end-of-day Saturday June 25. Residents can haul organic storm-related waste to Trail Road at their convenience, and free of charge, until that date. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust this date if needed.
Through the duration of cleanup efforts, Roads and Parking Services continued to address potholes in hazardous, priority locations. Regular pothole operations are beginning to resume, although some delays have been reported.
Parks and Forestry Clean-up
Public Works staff are currently focused on addressing hazards in parks and continuing to respond to City tree debris on private property. Since May 21, Parks Maintenance staff identified 528 parks with varying degrees of tree related damage requiring work. As of June 9, storm response work in 256 parks is complete, with work in 272 remaining. Public Works was fortunate to receive assistance from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry rangers, who supported the City in the removal of damaged trees in parks and pathways. Forestry contractors have been made available to assist with these works and will continue to support through the coming weeks.
The clean-up efforts remaining for our parks and City trees are significant, and staff are addressing them on a priority basis. It will take several weeks to complete this work. From June 13 to June 17, a City of Hamilton Forestry crew will assist the City of Ottawa in addressing high priority and complex work related to City tree removal operations. This support will provide Public Works crews with much needed assistance in the enormous task of addressing the damage done by the storm to City trees.
Gradual Return to Normal Parks and Forestry Maintenance
Over the past two weeks, residents may have noticed longer grass in their community parks and along their roadsides and medians. While staff were fully deployed to storm response, some of these normal operations were suspended. That temporary suspension has ended, and Public Works has resumed grass cutting in parks and along roadways. Public Works will be catching up to mowing operations through the week of June 21, and then starting a second cycle. Staff will also continue to clean up debris in parks over the next couple of weeks.
Approximately 70% of parks staff have returned to regular operations. The remaining staff are supporting the cleanup of tree debris in parks and roadsides. Additional parks staff and contracted services are being allocated to the cleanup of tree debris, and to catch up on outstanding passive and roadside grass cutting.
Public Works remains mindful that some residents are continuing to deal with the aftermath of the storm. Please visit the City’s storm response webpage for up-to-date information on what supports are available. This clean-up effort is the largest Public Works has ever led. It will take months before it is all complete, but our teams have made incredible progress and will continue until the job is done.
Please have patience. Our City crews have been working around the clock to ensure a safe resumption of services for residents and the staff members.