Elmwood resident accuses city of ‘lack of care’ after snow clearing damages boulevard

One Elmwood resident says she wants action from the City of Winnipeg after snow clearing stripped her boulevard of more than just snow. 

Tracy Hunt says she heard crews clearing the street early Sunday. When she went outside the next morning, she was horrified to see her boulevard had become a mess of dirt and snow. 

“I was devastated,” she said. “They’ve completely sheared it right down to the black earth.” 

Hunt said she waited more than an hour on hold with the city’s 311 help line to make a complaint. When she got through to a representative, Hunt said the response was disappointing. 

The city representative told her someone would come out to assess the damage in the spring, Hunt said. But that doesn’t help her now, with a heavy mix of frozen dirt, sod and snow to clear. 

“It’s just going to make the rest of the winter really tough,” said Hunt.

In an emailed statement sent to CBC News on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the city said it’s not uncommon for plow damage to happen early in the snow-clearing season, when boulevards are not fully frozen.

There have been 211 reports of damaged boulevards and curbs due to snow clearing equipment since Nov. 11, when the city had its first major snowfall of the season, the spokesperson said.

After snow clearing, inspectors do a review for any curb or boulevard damage, and also review locations for which the city has received 311 requests, the spokesperson said.

Not the 1st time

Hunt said while the boulevard has been damaged in previous years too, this is the worst it has ever been. 

Damage from sidewalk clearing last year tore off what she estimates was section of the boulevard more than half a metre wide. City crews reseeded the area in the spring, but it didn’t grow back. Hunt said she ended up patching the area herself with topsoil and seed. 

Hunt wants City of Winnipeg snowplow operators to take greater care when they’re removing snow. (Submitted by Daraius Gandevia)

“I know it’s the city boulevard, but I’m responsible for maintaining it, keeping it cut, keeping my snow shovelled,” said Hunt. “This lack of care is unfortunate, you know?”

While Hunt said some damage is to be expected, the latest damage strikes her as neglectful. She wants to see the city remove the dirt and resod it next year.

The city typically starts repairing plow-damaged curbs and boulevards in the spring, when construction season begins, the city spokesperson said.

Residents who have personal property damage after a snow-clearing operation can file a claim by calling 311 or filling out the claim form and submitting electronically to 311@winnipeg.ca.

Residents should provide as much information as possible when filling a claim, including pictures, estimates, and any receipts for repairs, the city spokesperson said. They should also report the damage to their homeowner or tenant insurance company to determine whether there is personal coverage for the damage.

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