Ice Storm Update No. 6

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Speaking to a Ward 25 resident who had to move his young family on Christmas Eve due to a power outage.

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

It’s been a long haul but Toronto Hydro is reporting that all ice storm-related outages have been restored.

I worked around the clock every day for the past ten days alongside my staff, advocating for Ward 25 priorities, staying in constant contact with Toronto Hydro and responding to more than 3,000 emails and phone calls from every neighbourhood in the Ward.

As I mentioned in a previous update, Ward 25, with its many mature trees and extensive canopy coverage, was particularly hard hit by the storm. A number of Ward 25 homes remained without power yesterday and I continued work late into the evening coordinating with Toronto Hydro and making sure power was restored.

Thanks are due to all of the Toronto Hydro staff and city staff that worked day and night to bring the city back online. Thanks are also due to everyone who reached out to help their neighbours, friends and family over the course of the power outage.

There was significant room for improvement in both Toronto Hydro’s and the city’s response, and I am looking forward to a thorough and detailed review.

At September’s Parks and Environment Committee meeting, I successfully passed a motion requesting Urban Forestry to improve the city’s tree pruning response time. Over the next few weeks, I will be working alongside Urban Forestry staff – as well as senior staff from across the city – to identify and implement any and all proactive measures that will improve the city’s readiness and response going forward.

I’ve included below the latest information on the city’s debris management plan, waste collection and ice storm-related compensation.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any other questions or concerns.

Kind regards,

Jaye

**Debris Management Plan**

The city’s debris management plan gets underway tomorrow. Nearly 600 city staff and contractors will be working to remove fallen trees and branches from streets, sidewalks and the city’s rights-of-way. Due to the tremendous amount of storm-related debris, the clean-up is expected to take six to eight weeks.

You can track the progress of debris removal in your neighbourhood via a map on the city’s website, http://www.toronto.ca. The map should be online shortly.

If you have fallen trees or branches on your property of a manageable size (less than six inches in diameter), please place them by the curb for pick up. Please stack the branches neatly with butt ends towards the road, without blocking the roadway or the sidewalk.

For larger limbs and stems (over six inches in diameter) on your property from private trees, please contact a private contractor.

At this time, you do not require a permit to remove or trim damaged or downed trees on your property. For more information, please see the Tree By-law exemption here http://bit.ly/19D07tG.

For city trees (i.e., street trees) that have fallen on your property or on the right-of-way or are in need of maintenance, please call 311 or email 311@toronto.ca.

**Garbage Collection**

This week, curbside collection on Thursday and Friday will move forward one day. This means that Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday. Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar.

Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays. Residents should leave their materials out until they are collected. If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).

If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.

I’ve been advised by Solid Waste Management staff that extra tags are not required.

**Roads, Traffic and Parking**

Power has been restored to all traffic signals and all signals are operating normally. Please note that the power supply is not quite stable at all signalized intersections and there may be fluctuations that knock signals out or make them flash. If you see an intersection like this, treat it as an all-way stop. Please also call 311 and report it so that a crew can be sent to investigate and fix the problem.

Where there are icy or blocked driveways, the city will provide parking consideration for residents who park on the street beyond posted times. If you receive a ticket, there is an application that can be filled out to describe the circumstances and request ticket cancellation at http://bitly.com/1ggfwPJ. Completed application forms and documentation can be faxed to 416-696-3652 or sent via e-mail to parkingmeters@toronto.ca.

**Compensation for Ice Storm-Related Damage**

Some of you have asked whether the city will be providing compensation where city trees have damages property, houses, cars, etc. City staff advised me that you can make a claim at the following link: http://bit.ly/1hj2cNC.

**Grocery Store Gift Cards**

Residents who have experienced a prolonged power outage and lost food will be able to collect a grocery store gift card thanks to the generous assistance of Loblaws, the Retail Council of Canada, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Metro, Sobey’s, Coppa’s Fresh Market and the provincial government. This is a provincial initiative and does not involve the City of Toronto.

For more information, please visit: http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2013/12/ontario-helps-people-replace-food-lost-during-ice-storm.html.

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