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Winnipeg man frustrated after snow clearing crews destroy tree in his yard

Winnipeg man frustrated after snow clearing crews destroy tree in his yard
Joseph Strebly says his 24-year-old Colorado spruce tree was snapped in two by a snowplow Tuesday night before the plow hit another tree and became stuck just outside his Unicity home, Global's Marney Blunt reports.

A Winnipeg man wants snow clearing crews to clean up the mess they left behind.

Joseph Strebly says his 24-year-old Colorado spruce tree was snapped in two by a snowplow Tuesday night before the plow hit another tree and became stuck just outside his Unicity home.

All of it happening while Strebly stood in his driveway, about 20 feet away.

“I’m standing in my driveway and then he drops the blade in front of me and takes off and took the tree with him,” Strebly said. “Took the tree, smashed it, hit the next tree, the ash tree, (there were) big noises, and then the machine stopped and he was stuck there.”

Strebly said this isn’t the first time this has happened. He said he’s had issues with snow clearing crews damaging his trees in previous years.

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He’s hoping the contractor will come to remove the tree and cover the landscaping costs. Strebly says he and his wife take great pride in their yard.

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“All these years I’ve been trying to maintain these trees. Twenty-four years (ago) I planted them and now it’s gone, you can’t replace them,” he said. “We look after them and it’s gone in a matter of seconds.”

He believes carelessness and inexperience are likely to blame.

“It’s just carelessness. The drivers, even (the) foreman on the street was saying (its) inexperienced drivers, turnover staff and on the job training,” Strebly said. “I understand that, but on the job training with a piece of machinery that big and devastating?”

Joseph Strebly says the grader hit his 24-year-old Colorado spruce tree before slamming into another tree.
Joseph Strebly says the grader hit his 24-year-old Colorado spruce tree before slamming into another tree. Marney Blunt / Global News

“How do you miss a tree that big? It’s bigger than the grader and they still managed to take it out.”

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In an emailed statement to Global News, a City of Winnipeg spokesperson says their contractors are required to take responsibility and respond directly to claims for any damage or injury caused to the public. The city’s adjuster will forward claims to the contractor to be handled.

Thousands without power after snow clearing equipment hits hydro pole

Winnipeg snow clearing crews have also had a run-in with a hydro pole recently.

Manitoba Hydro says a grader hit a pole on Wabasha Street in Transcona late Wednesday afternoon, knocking out power to 2,856 customers. All customers had power restored shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday.

A hydro spokesperson says they couldn’t confirm whether it was a city crew or a private contractor, as no equipment was on-site when they arrived and the incident was never reported to them. However, the spokesperson said tire tracks and snow piles indicated that it was a snow clearing crew.

READ MORE: Snow clearing crews cause 10K in damage to property, says St. James Village Biz

Hydro also says when poles are damaged by snow clearing crews or other third-party equipment, the owner or operator is responsible for the damage costs, and they will take owners or operators to court to recover damages.

Sage Creek residents frustrated with windrows

In the Sage Creek area, residents have been voicing frustrations with massive, hard-packed windrows in front of and behind their homes.

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Sage Creek residents are voicing frustrations with hard-packed windrows outside their homes.
Sage Creek residents are voicing frustrations with hard-packed windrows outside their homes. Marney Blunt / Global News

“I’m just upset that it’s basically a big ice wall that we had to chip through and it wasn’t pleasant,” Sage Creek resident Tia Harvey-White said.

“My initial reaction was I just wanted to leave it because I have already done my back lane and I know how hard it is to clear this ice wall. But then we have people who come here, our parents come over to watch our kids and for them to climb over this is a safety concern, I don’t want anybody falling and injuring themselves.”

Harvey-White says she contacted 311 over the windrows, but was told the snow plows were within their policies.

“They basically looked up our street and just said that the plows were within their policies and this was acceptable,” she said.

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