Province launches investigation into the house move in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG — The province has launched an investigation after a moving company transporting a large house through the city chopped down trees and hit a road sign.

First it was the trees along Roblin Boulevard—a large portion of the boulevard’s tree canopy was cut down by a moving company trying to make way for its oversized load on Saturday, Aug. 7.

Winnipeg police said officers who showed up to escort the moving company in the city found multiple trees along the move route had been deliberately felled or trimmed.

The mover was arrested and charged with mischief over $5,000. The charge has not been proven in court.

Five days later the moving company ran into more trouble. The province said on Aug. 11, the same house being moved by the same company hit the overhead sign on the Wilkes Overpass at the South Perimeter Highway.

The province said the permitted height of the building was expected to clear the sign.

“The province is currently investigating the house move that started in Winnipeg on Saturday, August 7 and continued on provincial infrastructure on Wednesday, August 11,” a provincial spokesperson told CTV News in a statement.

“This is different segments of the same move and same moving company, but on different dates.”

The debacle has prompted both the city and the province to take a look at the policies around moving oversized loads.

“Government is also reviewing current provincial policies and/or processes to see if any changes are required,” a provincial spokesperson told CTV News in a statement.

David Driedger, a spokesperson for the City of Winnipeg, said it is up to an applicant to identify potential concerns and obstacles—including traffic signs and signals, hydro poles—that may need to be temporarily removed during a move.

“In this instance, trees were not identified by the applicant as being obstacles along the route. As noted, it is up to the applicant to ensure clearances can be met,” Driedger said in an email to CTV News.

“We are reviewing the application process to more effectively identify boulevard and park trees as considerations for route assessments and traffic management plans submitted by applicants, and clarifying that they are in fact considered obstacles along a proposed route.”

Driedger said the city is still working on calculating the cost of the damage that was caused along with the clean-up that is required.

Driedger said the city expects to begin replanting trees in spring 2022, pending compensation. 

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