May 21 Storm Response Updates
The cleanup will take several months of effort and there are some areas that may see the removal of multiple trees; in some places entire streets may have to be cleared of existing mature trees due to damage.
INFORMATION UPDATE FRIDAY JUNE 24
INFORMATION UPDATE MONDAY JUNE 13
Tree Debris Boulevard Pick-Up
- Progress is continuing on the city-wide boulevard pick-up and it is estimated that pick-up is approximately 82% complete. The website progress link is HERE
- Currently staff estimate that 100% of the City will be completed by the week of June 20.
- 23 staff from the Operations-Roads & Traffic team are committed to the curbside pick-up and have been reallocated from asphalt, sidewalk, road repair and catchbasin/manhole repair crews. The staffing reallocation will delay some programs as described further below
Parks & Cemeteries Clean-Up
- Staff continue to assess the impact of the storm and anticipate the urgent response will continue for at least the next four weeks as the tree canopy has sustained significant damage
- There has been continued prioritization of urgent tree management needs, focusing on re-opening blocked trails and removing fallen trees and limbs from backyards with support from forestry staff, contractors and Region forestry staff
- Forestry Technical staff have been re-deployed to tree inspections apart from staff that are involved in the spring tree planting program (this program continues). This work has identified a large number of hazards within trees; more than 200 issues have been identified within canopy areas. These range from large hangers, to split trunks that have not led to significant failure, but have left trees significantly compromised or with hazards within them.
- To address this, staff involved in trail management - grooming and vegetation management – are being temporarily re-deployed to identify where tree damages noted are causing a public risk impact, and implement risk management measures in these locations such as fencing, caution tape, and in extreme examples, closing off areas of parks. In addition, temporary forestry resources are being hired to support the significant backlog of forestry related work.
- Park and trail closures remain in place in some locations and are, unfortunately, seeing a very low level of public compliance; caution tape is routinely removed, and fencing is being ignored. Members of the public continue to access fallen trees and gather around upturned root plates. Communications will continue to support public safety messages.
- As noted previously, Cemeteries, particularly Woodland, received significant damage. While immediate clear up has been completed, additional clean-up of debris has been required which has delayed horticulture and turf programs in Cemeteries. Park Operations have been providing support to Cemeteries due to staffing shortages.
Other Services Impacted
As noted above, some resources have been reallocated from other maintenance operations to support the storm clean-up. Currently the following maintenance activities are impacted:
- There is an increasing backlog of service requests as ‘regular’ work is suspended. Public complaints around this are growing and it is anticipated that these concerns will likely escalate to councillors in time.
- The redeployment of technical staff has impacted the ongoing Tree Inventory work; this work was hoped to be completed in 2022 and may now extend into 2023.
- Ash removals (around 300) scheduled for 2022 have currently been paused as the contractor has been redeployed to storm clear up. Residents were advised of removals adjacent to their houses and may have concerns if this deferral of work continues too long.
- Trails: The redeployment of the trails crew will mean that routine seasonal trail grooming will be suspended. It is anticipated the team will be able to return to normal trail duties by mid-summer. Any safety issues on trails will be addressed, however, seasonal washouts may take longer to address and edge vegetation may grow longer than is Usual.
- Cemeteries: some delays to grass trimming and horticulture programs
- Asphalt crack sealing preventative maintenance program has been suspended and it is anticipated that the 2022 season will have a 4-6 week reduced program
- Sidewalk mud jacking activities has been suspended and it is anticipated that the 2022 season will have a 4-6 week reduced program
- Road repair crews have been reduced however minimum maintenance standards are being maintained
- Catchbasin and manhole inhouse repair program has been suspended however contracted services activities continue
INFORMATION UPDATE FRIDAY MAY 27 - 4:54PM
Forestry, Parks, Cemeteries
Staff continue to deal with urgent tree related issues; however, by the end of today (Friday) an initial response to the most urgent needs across the City has been completed.
- Primary focus for the next two to three weeks is on:
- Identifying and managing damage in the crowns of trees and removing hanging branches
- Focusing on removing trees/branches that have fallen from City trees into backyards, onto sheds and over fences
- Making ‘safe’ areas where trees pose a continued concern for public safety
- Responding to as yet unidentified urgent tree related calls.
- Where possible, parks teams will continue to remove smaller material to reopen trails and clear parks.
- Over the next two to three weeks, little work is anticipated on large trees that currently impact some trails and spaces. These are particularly issues at Prospect Park, Idlewood Natural Area, Rockway Gardens, Woodland Cemetery and along some sections of the Walter Bean Trail. There are other trails, parks and open spaces that also have large downed trees that will not see immediate removal. If resources become available, areas like Rockway Gardens will be a priority.
- Staff hope that once we have mitigated the most urgent issues, by mid to late June, we will be able to start a more comprehensive cleanup of parks, open spaces and trails of large downed trees.
- The City continues to work with the Region and private contractors to support cleanup efforts and will, where and if possible, try to move through this work quicker than anticipated.
- In some areas, such as Idlewood Natural Area, the damage to the urban canopy is extensive. In these areas, staff anticipate it will be several weeks at least, and possibly several months before specialist equipment and contractors can address issues in these areas; in a small area, as many as 100’s of trees appear to have been destroyed.
- Staff are also undertaking an initial clearing of streets and parks to make trees these areas safe. Staff are aware that some trees have sustained significant damage through the storm, and while they may have been made safe, and areas around them cleaned up, many of these trees may yet need to be removed as they have been damaged beyond the point to which they can be retained. It is likely that there will be additional trees that need to be removed as a result of the May 21 storm. This work will likely happen during fall, winter and spring 2023.
- At this time, there are no service level impacts to other Parks programs such as turf cutting or horticultural programs.
- We continue to remind members of the public to be aware of the damage that may well be in trees above your heads and to not climb on downed trees or around upturned root balls. Please respect work areas around forestry crews and obey signs and areas that are closed.
Sport reports they will have all 18 holes are open at Rockway Saturday May 28! There is still lots of work ahead but the fairways and greens are playable.
Roads & Traffic
Two crews continue to be dedicated to assist Parks and storm cleanup. We have now completed all debris clean up from roadways based on priorities through service requests, with the exception of River Rd which is an ongoing cleanup involving the Region and Hydro.
- Supervisors have made their way through the entire city to identify any areas where clean up may be required but may not have been reported on service requests
- Ops Technologist is working with GIS to update mapping that is being used to allocate resources and setting up app that will be accessible to public next week as we make our way through the city to collect items from boulevards
- As noted above, River Road remains closed and hydro is on site. Region crews will be responsible for cleanup of storm debris.
- Leaf depots are not open, and dumping of yard waste, branches or logs there is not acceptable.
Plan for next week:
Alongside the work of the Region in supporting residents with managing excess waste generated by the storm, City crews will be collecting material from boulevards starting next week and working throughout the City.
- This is intended to be a one-time sweep of the city- updates will be shared with public on progress of this work through an outward facing app on our City’s website. Staff will update progress on a daily basis as we progress through the city.
- If residents have excess materials, they should bring to the curb by 7am Monday, May 30, though collection will be over several days. Make sure that items do not block the roadway or sidewalk.
- Two large dedicated crews, with heavy equipment, will be assigned to address the heaviest hit areas of the city; areas with substantial debris to be picked up from boulevards
- One smaller crew will be dispatched to lighter hit areas to pick up smaller debris they can collect by hand and place into pickup
- Plan is to follow behind Region’s Waste Management routes (specifically in the heaviest hit areas). Kitchener’s waste collection is next week. The intent is to make sure we are not first to the area, only pickup the larger debris, and then leave the regular yard waste behind, as that scenario would be confusing to the residents.
- Regular updates are being posted to the City’s storm updates page at www.kitchener.ca/stormupdates. A map with clean-up progress details is expected to be available next week.
- Regular updates are being posted to city social media.
- Staff continue to provide daily media response updates on storm clean-up progress.
INFORMATION UPDATE TUESDAY MAY 24 - 10:15pm
(Barring any significant new developments, the next Update will come early next week)
Please see following update from Day 4 of the storm response below.
Forestry, Parks, Cemeteries:
Following the principle of emergency management, the first priority is the safety of life and property. Forestry staff and directed contractors are primarily focused on seeking to ensure that City trees that pose a risk to property or life are addressed. In the first instance this is those trees impacting private property, sidewalks and streets. A second priority is providing support for Critical Services, such as Cemetery operations. Within parks and open spaces, work continues to identify where there are high risks and where these cannot be promptly mitigated, the risk is being managed by closing off areas as needed, until the risk can be managed.
Progress continues to be made today on clean up. Forestry staff have been addressing high priority needs with large trees that have come down on houses. A crane and operator have been brought in for at least the next two days to help move some heavy material out from private properties where City trees have come down. Forestry anticipate spending much of this week on high priority issues where city trees are impacting private property.
A contractor (deferred from the Emerald Ash Borer removal contract) is providing some support to clean up – they have a chipper and a small aerial lift. Pinnacle (contracted services) are providing several days support this week; today and for at least part of tomorrow, they are providing support to Woodland Cemetery. The priority here is to ensure safe access for staff and public for interments. Once Pinnacle have finished, there will remain significant cleanup work to be completed on site.
At this time, no large material is being removed from sites where it can safely be left. There are some very large stems and trunks that will require removal in due course, but there is no equipment available to move these at this time.
As we start to get a better sense on damage, it is becoming clear that the cleanup will take several months of effort and there are some areas that may see the removal of multiple trees; in places entire streets may have to be cleared of existing mature trees due to damage.
Staff have continued inspecting parks and trails for damage; this work will continue for the balance of the week at least and will lead to prioritization of the next phase of clean up, likely to start next week.
Rockway has experienced significant tree loss. Two (out of three) holes on the far side of Courtland are closed with major tree damage. These will remain closed (all three holes) until this work can be addressed.
The balance of Rockway also remains closed. It is hoped that by later Thursday or Friday, Pinnacle will have capacity to move to Rockway with the intent of dealing with the largest trees and making the course safe. Hopefully, with larger material on the ground, staff will be able to clear up the course to such an extent as 9, possibly up to 15 holes are playable. More will be understood following a site inspection to be carried out tomorrow or Thursday.
It is likely that the impact of the storm will take many weeks of Forestry’s dedicated time to respond to. It is likely that calls to the Corporate Contact Centre for forestry service will experience much longer response times for any issues apart from the most immediate needs, and some forestry related programs will experience delays (for example, street tree raising programs, maintenance programs etc.).
Any support in communicating that while roads, streets and the tree in front of your house may now be cleaned up, there remains a huge amount of clean up left to do, would be appreciated, particularly as we get further into summer and public memory of the storm may become much less.
Roads and Traffic
Roads crews continue to support cleanup efforts on priority roads, as identified by the Forestry team.
We are able to keep up with requests for storm cleanup support while continuing to progress with our most pressing regular spring activities.
Traffic currently reports the following road closures due to hydro related storm impacts:
River (Bradley to Old Chicopee)
Nyberg – NEW - Broken Hydro Pole
Barring any significant new developments, we will plan for the next Council update early next week
INFORMATION UPDATE MONDAY MAY 23 - 10:52PM
- Work today continued to focus on streets and sidewalks. Driveways are all unblocked as of this morning
- Some street work still to go with hangers needing removed and a lot of trees require additional structural work - they are made safe, but need lots of work still. This will be a focus tomorrow and it is anticipated that many trees that will require removal – some of these impacting whole streets.
- We have deferred ash removal program and redirected that contractor to working on streets to help clear up for now.
- Staff have started to address priority back yard issues (city tree into backyards and property damage) however it is anticipated that this work will take some time to complete
- Some challenges with city trees and limbs falling onto private property and impacting private hydro supply – working on a process for understanding when it is safe for us to enter and complete tree work.
- Initial inspections are showing several parks have significant tree damage and some of our wood lots are in quite bad conditions as well.
- We will be directing all forestry staff (students and technical staff) off other work to focus on inspecting tomorrow and likely for much of the week.
- There was good progress today but we expect to start identifying a lot more damage over coming days through inspection as we start moving away from opening roads and streets and into parks and woodlands.
- Longer term planning on replanting needs will need to be a consideration following the clean-up.
- Many streets were cleared today with only a few remaining closed as follows:
- River (Bradley to Old Chicopee)
- Thornridge Cres
- Ripplewood Cres
- Limerick @ King
- All others have been opened and signage removed
- Woodland Cemetery is in bad shape and Cemetery staff continue to work to make safe and clean up Woodland.
- Crews and contracted services will attend tomorrow to support Cemetery staff who have been working on this all weekend.
INFORMATION UPDATE - SUNDAY MAY 22 - 10:15PM
Hydro made progress Sunday so we have some streets that we have been unable to clear until now that we will get to on Tuesday
We are still working to clear other streets, sidewalks and still have driveways that are blocked. This work will resume tomorrow,
Contracted services are lined up for Monday to start providing support.
Parks will be fielding multiple crews Monday: Three teams will be responding to sidewalk service requests and clearing limbs and branches off these to reopen them, one team will be focusing on woodlots like Monarch Woods, Breithaupt and Idlewood where there are extensive trails and likely significant impacts. Two teams will be working through playgrounds that have been impacted, clearing and closing as needed and a final team will be starting to try and assess damage to play areas and repair where we know we have damaged play equipment.
We will have 3 crews of 6 in again, beginning Monday at 7am to assist Forestry crews with highest priority areas.
Traffic reports the following roads remain closed due to pending hydro work:
- Ross Ave
- Kenneth & Prospect
- River Rd
- Weber at Jackson
- Doon opened Sunday, although there were some complaints due to debris. Staff have been on site cleaning up all day.
- Rockway remains closed and staff are suggesting it could be until Thursday before it reopens. Golf management have contacted the arenas to get additional staff support.
- Staff have been in regular contact with Communications to provide updates on Rockway on a day-by-day basis.
All other operational areas appear to be business as usual with no ongoing storm responses. The operational response team is meeting Monday morning and a further update will be provided by end of day
INFORMATION UPDATE - SUNDAY MAY 22 - 1:40PM
Kitchener helping residents with summer storm debris clean-up
KITCHENER – City crews are responding to city-wide damage caused by a severe storm that moved through the Kitchener area Saturday afternoon. The City has mobilized all available resources to respond to the storm damage and remove fallen trees from critical infrastructure.
Once the City’s urgent response to address tree damage is complete, staff will begin an additional clean-up of storm debris on impacted streets. This one-time clean-up of trees, branches and vegetation will help residents clear storm debris. It is anticipated this clean-up will begin the week of May 30. More details will be provided soon.
Residents can bring debris to their boulevard or curb for collection. Storm debris must be separated from regular waste collection, and it should not block sidewalks or road access.
All Kitchener streets will be cleared of storm debris but due to the high volume of storm-related waste, clean-up is expected to continue for several weeks. Residents are asked to be patient as city crews work their way through neighbourhoods. Dangerous and urgent debris around the city continues to be cleared and residents can report problems online or by calling the City’s corporate contact centre at 519-741-2345.
Smaller branches and storm debris will also be collected through the Region of Waterloo’s regular yard waste collection program with approved containers and bundling. Debris drop-offs at city leaf depots will not be accepted.
City crews will not return once a street has been cleared. Residents can subscribe to www.kitchener.ca/stormupdates for regular updates.
May 22 Update From Kitchener's Service Divisions 12;10AM
Over 100 service requests have been logged related to downed trees over hydro lines, roads and building structures.
Work continued on the clear up until late this evening and will resume tomorrow morning around 7am. All available forestry and road maintainer have been deployed for initial response
The focus has been on streets to clear roadways and driveways where we can access; many streets are still closed by downed hydro lines and we cannot yet access these.
Preparations are being made for a full response. Supervisors from roads and parks are currently calling in all available & qualified parks maintainers and roads maintainers to support tree related clean-up. We will be starting wood chip dumps on a temporary basis at the Aud and Breithaupt and will clean these up next week to save having to return to the Kitchener Operations Facility for unload.
At this point we are not starting an organized sweep of the city as we did in July following plow routes; it’s too early yet and tomorrow will likely be fully focused on initial response still. An organized clear up will start this coming week when staff have addressed priorities.
No reports of damage; however waiting for confirmation from Facilities staff
Sanitary & Stormwater Utilities:
We didn't see much localized flooding, but crews are at the ready to respond if any residual impacts are reported.
We are impacted by several power outages at our stations, but all are running on backup power and fully operational. We will continue to monitor these stations to ensure they remain operational until power is restored.
No change to previous update:
Both golf courses have been temporarily closed today due to the large volume of tree damage posing safety risks to players. It is anticipated that Doon will reopen tomorrow. Rockway will not reopen Sunday\ and further assessment is required prior to establishing a reopening date.
No change to previous update:
Significant amounts of damage have occurred within Woodland Cemetery. Crews are making the grounds safe at the moment and will assess the repairs needed over the coming week.
For most up to date sport field information refer to: https://app2.kitchener.ca/fieldconditions/
Kitchener Wilmot Hydro Update from 8pm Saturday May 21
We continue to make good progress on restoring customers affected by the larger outages and are down to 7,500 without power, down from over 20,000.
Within the City, we currently have larger outages in the Rockway and Stanley Park areas as follows:
- Broken poles (6) on River Road between Kenora and Rennie
- Broken pole at Weber and Jackson
- Broken crossarm on Franklin Ave near Ross
There will still be a number of smaller pockets of customers out and we will continue to work to restore these areas. As well there are many individual customers whose house services have been torn down by trees or branches.
I anticipate that restoration efforts for the smaller outage pockets will continue through tonight, into tomorrow and possibly into Monday.
Individual customer restorations will continue into the week.
There are also a number of outages in the Township, including 11-12 broken poles on Queen Street between Bleams Road and the town of New Dundee that we are working on.
May 21 Update:
Here is an update from the severe storm front that went through our Region mid-day of May 21 and how the City of Kitchener and our valued team members are addressing the issues the storm caused.
Updated Situation: Issued at 2022-05-21 12:55PM EDT by Environment Canada:
A severe thunderstorm cell went through the region between 11:45am and 12:30pm today with strong winds gusting over 100 km/h. In some remote locations, nickel sized hail was included.
Forestry: High call volumes (50+) of downed trees over hydro lines, roads and building structures. Forestry crews have been deployed to render roadways accessible and safe for emergency vehicles. Debris will be moved initially to boulevards to ensure access to roadways.
Golf: Both golf courses have been temporarily closed today due to the large volume of tree damage posing safety risks to players. It is anticipated that Doon will reopen tomorrow. Rockway will not reopen tomorrow and futher assessment is required prior to establishing a reopening date.
Cemeteries: Significant amounts of damage have occurred within Woodland Cemetery. Crews are making the grounds safe at the moment and will assess the repairs needed over the coming week.
Corporate Contact Centre: Significant call volumes were found immediately following the storm due to wind damage with upwards of 30+ people waiting in the queue. Additional CCC staff have been called in and call volumes are declining. Residents are being encouraged to report downed limbs by calling 519.741,2345 or by using the online form on the city website. To do that Click HERE
Hydro: For Local KW Hydro outages, please click this link: http://outages.kwhydro.ca/gridvu/
Our Communications Staff will continue providing safety messaging via social media and on the City Website
Considering submitting reports of downed trees or hanging limbs via on-line form due to high call volumes to the Contact Centre. The cleanup will take several days, so resident patience is appreciated while we make the situation safe and then return to complete the cleanup
Roads & Traffic: Traffic Staff are assisting with road closures alongside our Forestry staff. Staff are assisting with road closures alongside our Forestry staff. Additional staff will be deployed to assist in removing debris off roadways and boulevards once the location has been made safe
Parks & Cemeteries: External contractors will be contacted to assist Golf & Cemeteries staff clear debris from their locations.
Storm/Sanitary Utilities: Management will be notifying the rest of field crews today to be on stand-by in the event that the EOC is activated and additional resources are needed.
Gas/Water Utilities: Communications/dispatch division continue to send out communications. On-call staff are available over the weekend.
- Fire Department:
- Localized flooding was seen in a few locations, however due to the speed of the storm, little impact was experienced.
- Pumping station crews continue to monitor stations due to power outages, however each station has back-up generators to ensure continuity of operation.
- Forestry staff continue to be deployed and are coordinating with KW Hydro for areas of greatest impact
- Additional staff are being called in to assist in the response and recovery efforts across the city.