Snowstorm cleanup continues as hydro warns not to shovel snow off your roof onto wires
MUSKOKA – Cleanup from the recent snowfalls is proving as challenging as last summer’s major wind storm.
With power outages in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge near completion, hydro crews and town officials are preparing for all eventualities, while trying to deal with more unforeseen problems.
And police are warning snowmobilers to pay particular caution, with five sledding fatalties in the province already this winter.
The OPP are reminding snowmobilers to ride safely.
But first, Lakeland Power is warning about shovelling snow off roofs onto power lines.
And in Gravenhurst, they’re going through sidewalk plows faster than snowfalls.
Their three sidewalks plows have all broken down – and so has a rental plow.
They’re working to repair them and get them back on the streets.
In Bracebridge, residents are being told that if they are shovelling the snow off their roof, they should do so with care and safety so as not to damage any wires attached to the buildings by pushing snow off the edges.
Vince Kulchycki, CAO of Lakeland Power’s parent, says in an email Thursday:
“Be careful as there isn’t just a hazard of falling but overhead wires supplying power to the house are up there to, so please keep your distance. Before throwing the snow off, take note of the location of your hydro meter as the falling snow and ice can damage the meter making a costly repair to the home owner.”
He says with rain predicted for Saturday, “… this could absorb in the snow left on the tree’s making the branches heaver with a high risk of breaking.”
Kulchycki says it has the potential to cause outages, “so please be prepared.”
And as usual he reminds everyone to stay clear of downed power lines.
If you find any around Bracebridge, Huntsville or any area serviced by Lakeland, call them at 1-888-282-7711. Their website is www.lakelandpower.on.ca and their twitter account is @LakelandPower.
He says their twitter account is not monitored 24/7, so do not report outages on twitter, please call only.
Meanwhile, Town of Gravenhurst officials advise that the clean up from the recent snow storm is well underway.
They say in a new release Thursday that the road network is being plowed and sanded.
Crews have cleared the sidewalks in areas through operating various machines in a 24-hour cycle. The sidewalks in certain areas have greater than the regular accumulation due in part by the larger than normal precipitation and equipment breakdown.
“As you can expect the machines can’t open up some of the sidewalks with the extraordinary accumulation we have,” said Geoff Carleton, director of infrastructure and Communications. “We are challenged with opening these areas without further damaging our equipment,” he added.
Mayor Donaldson said, “our crews are doing their best to get our streets and sidewalks
cleared and accessible under some very tough conditions.
“We are hopeful that the weather forecast for this weekend will allow our crews to complete this cleanup,” she said.
In addition, some roadways will require widening and some intersections need sight lines opened.
As of midnight Wednesday Jan. 8, contractor crews will be working with Town of Gravenhurst personnel to complete some of these tasks in unison. The crews will be removing the snow banks to open up lanes and sight lines, as well as, completely removing snow banks on impacted sidewalks. This will allow for improved safety, snow storage and maintenance around the municipality.
Projected Action Plan – Priority Areas:
- School zones;
- Muskoka Road (MR) 169 from MR 41 to North Muldrew Lake Rd;
- All side roads from Cherokee to MR 41 along MR 169 for a distance of 15-20m for sight lines;
- First and John Streets, including all side streets to MR 18, from Winewood to Phillip Street;
- All other areas as required.
There are some areas that cannot be maintained in this matter due to the limitations presented by existing infrastructure such as open ditches, ground mount structures or consolidation of utilities in the area. Crews will continue to remove snow from these areas with loaders and smaller tractors.
“It is important to remember that not all areas in town will realize this type of maintenance as it is prioritized by traffic volumes and safety. However, all areas are being constantly monitored for any effects of the volume of snow received to date. Town personnel will continue their winter operations for the municipality and the residents’ cooperation and understanding is appreciated in these extraordinary circumstances,” said Carleton in the release.
The OPP say in their news release Thursday that in the wake of five fatal motorized snow vehicle (MVC) collisions that have occurred in Ontario since the start of the season, the OPP are warning snowmobilers to exercise caution at all times while out enjoying what should be a safe winter recreational activity.
All five of these tragic fatalities occurred on roads and the OPP is reminding snowmobilers to always travel at speeds which take into consideration not only their ability as an operator, but also the weather and surface conditions in the areas in which they are travelling. This is especially important during heavy snowfall, high winds, when snow banks are present and when visibility becomes obscured or is reduced to zero.
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) provide designated trails that are marked, mapped, maintained and patrolled for the safety and enjoyment of all snowmobilers. By avoiding closed trails and not riding on roads, lakes, unfamiliar terrain and private property, snowmobilers can greatly reduce their risk of getting into trouble.
Please make safety and common sense important aspects of your preparation and planning every time you head out on your snowmobile.
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