City of Hamilton crews are working six days a week to clean up debris from December’s ice storm.
The public works department says as of Jan. 24, the city has received 6,317 tree damage calls and has handled more than half of them.
Workers are now starting to address over 1,100 oversized branch calls (branches too big for waste collection and require chainsaws for removal). The calls are being addressed on a priority basis with those affecting health and safety being completed first.
Along with city staff and equipment, a number of contracted tree removal crews as are also being used.
“There is a high demand for tree crews across Ontario right now so we haven’t been able to retain as many as we would like,” said Craig Murdoch, director of environmental services.
“We will continue to hire more crews over the coming weeks as they become available.”
The city estimates it could be close to the end of March before the cleanup is completed.
Residents who are able to cut and bundle their brush to four-foot lengths will have their brush collected as part of normal waste collection services. All other tree material will be collected at a later date by crews with chainsaws and chippers. Residents are asked to ensure branches do not block sidewalks and roads.
Residents will be permitted to set out oversized and unbundled brush until March 21. After that, they must follow the leaf and yard
waste criteria for bundled brush collection. The criteria are as follows:
Bundles (for brush and twigs): brush should be tied in bundles no longer than
1.2 metres (4 feet) and .75 metres (2.5 feet) in diameter. Individual branches must not exceed 7 centimetres (2.5 inches) in diameter. Each bundle must not weigh more than 50 pounds.
Low income seniors and persons with a disability may be eligible for help with yard clean up (no tree cutting available) through the city's Helping Hands program. For more information, see hamilton.ca/helpinghands or call 905-546-3057. It is also recommended that if seniors call contractors for price quotes that they inquire if the company offers seniors discounts.
The city is cautioning homeowners who are using contractors to address their private trees to ensure the contractor is a certified arborist who can demonstrate insurance against property damage and ensure they have a clearance certificate from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).