City of Melville Continues Cleanup from May Ice Storm

The City of Melville continues to clean up in the aftermath of the May 21 ice storm that damaged trees and knocked out power to many residents in and around the Rail City.
As a result, the City has successfully applied for assistance through the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP), to offset costs associated with the storm.
On the Saskatchewan Government website, PDAP “helps residents, small businesses, agricultural operations, First Nations, non-profit organizations and communities recover from natural disasters, including flooding, tornadoes, plow winds and other disasters caused by severe weather. PDAP may help cover the cost of uninsurable essential losses, cleanup, repairs and temporary relocation.”
Currently, the City is covering the costs through an unappropriated surplus, used only for emergencies.
Finance Director Lynsey Swanson says costs from the ice storm to-date are roughly $552-thousand.
“We have been working with the adjuster and we will be getting information to him this week on costs today and expected costs in the future,” Swanson said in her verbal report to Melville City Council Monday. “So we’re just starting the process with PDAP itself.”
Cleanup will continue for another two weeks
Melville’s public works crews continue to pick up broken tree branches and remove any trees that were damaged from the ice storm.
Director of Public Works Andrew Fahlman says they’ve been marking trees with different coloured ribbons to indicate how damaged they are.
Orange and red means a tree must be removed; pink means big, hanging branches must be removed; and blue means regular maintenance only.
“We’re going to be at this cleanup and tree removal for another couple of weeks yet,” Fahlman said while noting they will be losing about 200 trees from the cleanup.
He also noted it will take two weeks before Public Works employees will be able to transition back to their normal duties.
When it comes to any damaged trees on private property, Fahlman says that is the responsibility of the property owner to address, however if anyone has concerns about a tree on or near their property to give the Public Works Department a call and they will come to assess the tree.
“Aging Tree Canopy”
Director of Community Services Chris Bruce says his crews have been removing damaged trees from Centennial Park as well as Melville Regional Park.
He says the Regional Park was heavily affected.
“It’s a lot of damage in the Regional Park, I think it was one of the worst hit areas. It’s an aging tree canopy in there,” Bruce said. “The cleanup is substantial – the amount of brush coming out of that park – and we will be in there for quite some time.
Bruce says throughout the parks, numerous fences were damaged and since they are not insurable, these will be submitted for PDAP as well.
Once they find out more from PDAP, a plan will be in place to repair and replace the damaged fences.
Regarding recreational facilities, Bruce says they “faired extremely well” with only a branch landing on the roof of the pool house, which Public Works removed.

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