April 23, 2014

Special pick-up planned for urban area branches

As published in The Erin Advocate

The Town of Erin is planning a special curbside collection of ice storm branches from private property in Erin village and Hillsburgh, starting on Monday, May 5.

A small portion of the clean-up was done immediately after the December 22 storm, to clear roads, remove safety hazards and help restore electrical service. Then once the snow melted in the second week of April, crews cleared brush from municipal road allowances in the urban areas – which included some branches moved by residents from private property.

Work is continuing to make sure all public property including parks, cemeteries, storm water management facilities, trails and walkways are cleared. Road Superintendent Larry Van Wyck told councillors on April 15 that work was also commencing “in the rural areas covering each and every road, clearing all brush on the municipal road allowance”.

The second pick-up is for urban residents only. They are asked to bring brush from their properties to the roadside by 7 am on May 5, though crews may not complete the work until May 7. There will be only one more trip down each street.

A Town press release (available at www.erin.ca) asks that brush be laid at the curb “in an organized fashion” for easier pick-up. Branches should be no longer than 5 feet in length and no thicker than 6 inches in diameter. Any bundled material should not weigh more than 60 pounds.

Mayor Lou Maieron said Wellington County would be doing one more pick-up along county roads including Main Street in Erin village and Trafalgar Road through Hillsburgh, but not providing an in-town drop-off location for branches as he had hoped.

The deadline for free disposal of brush at Wellington County waste facilities, including the closest Transfer Station in Belwood, has been extended until May 31.

At a January 13 meeting the Town asked the Ontario government to declare Erin a “disaster area”, seeking funding from the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program. On April 10, the province sent the Town details about an additional one-time Ice Storm Assistance Program, and council has directed staff to apply for that additional funding.

Actual costs up to March 31 have been about $75,000, but the total price tag could run as high as $267,000, Van Wyck reported to council, reminding them that the province will decide whether to provide funding only after the work is done.

“An attempt is being made to limit outside expenses and complete as much of the work as possible with our additional temporary help and Town equipment to keep the cost of the cleanup as low as possible, in an attempt to limit the Town’s exposure should funding assistance not be received,” he said.