Most parks reopen in time for March Break

Trails and woodlands remain closed for public safety

Trees
Most parks reopen in time for March Break
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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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The town’s forestry crews have completed inspection and cleanup of 237 of the town’s 239 active parks following the ice storm of December 22. It was anticipated park cleanup would take until the end of March to complete, however while some brush still remains, the town has announced most parks are now open to the public in time for March Break activities. Only Lions Valley Park and Petro Canada Park remained closed as of March 6.

Residents are reminded that due to the continued risk of falling tree limbs, trails and woodlands will remain closed until further notice for public safety. Trails will reopen once they have been inspected and any broken or hanging limbs and unsafe trees have been removed.

“The Forestry Section has done a remarkable job in getting the parks inspected and open ahead of schedule. The total number of storm-damaged trees the Forestry Section has responded to so far in parks and on the road allowance alone is over 6,300. Crews are now concentrating on the 300 kilometres of woodland trails,” said Chris Mark, director of Parks and Open Space for the town. “Trails still pose a public safety hazard as many broken or cracked limbs are not noticeable to the untrained eye and could fall without warning. It may take several months before all trails are safe to reopen.”

Ice-covered steep entrances to Lions Valley Park and Petro Canada Park are hindering access and cleanup. Work in these parks as well as the removal of brush and debris in open parks will be completed as weather permits.

The town also announced that brush pick for private trees has been extended until March 31, 2014. Residents may place bulk brush with branches to a maximum of 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) in diameter and 2 metres (6.5 feet) long out on their regular garbage collection day. Larger branches and storm debris can be brought to the Halton Waste Management Site. Residents who are unable to transport their larger branches to the Halton Waste Management Site should email serviceoakville@oakville.ca with their address to assist in coordinating the collection. This service will be weather permitting as priority will be given to road clearing operations during winter storms.

The town is also asking for residents’ help in locating any remaining damaged trees with broken branches overhanging roads and sidewalks. Residents are asked to email locations of damaged trees to serviceoakville@oakville.ca or call ServiceOakville at 905-845-6601 to assist forestry crews in identifying priority areas. Residents whose homes are adjacent to town woodlands or trails can also report any broken branches overhanging their private properties.

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