Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash.

Winnipeg’s fall snowstorm to cost city $10 million

The monster snowstorm that ripped through Winnipeg last fall will cost about $10 million, according to city documents.

The storm, which dumped 35 centimetres of snow, as well as rain, freezing rain, and ice pellets  on parts of the city between Oct. 9-13 and has been described as an “unprecedented storm” in a new report.

The city had to pay for 60,000 staff hours during the storm, which included plenty of overtime hours to address more than 5,500 storm-related 311 calls and 2,600 storm-related 911 calls. It will also cost $8.7 million for “public works” alone, which consists of tree-pruning and debris clean-up as well as snow removal and ice control.

“Heavy, wet snow landed on trees that still had leaves, resulting in downed branches and trees, and downed and damaged power lines throughout the city … over 50,000 residents lost power at some point throughout the event,” the city’s report said.

Mayor Brian Bowman told the Winnipeg Sun that the dollar amount expressed in the report offers little relief despite originally stating that the weather event could cause “tens of millions of dollars” in damages.

“They’re still incredible costs,” Bowman said, adding that the province hasn’t responded to the city’s request for disaster financial assistance.

Coun. Scott Gillingham, the City of Winnipeg’s finance chair, said that the October storm damage is a main reason why the city is expecting a $6.7 million operating deficit for 2019.

While Gillingham added that the city has found some savings to offset storm costs, he expects the city can reduce its deficit by the time year end financial data is available.