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Unauthorized Volunteers Posing Safety Hazards

(Friday, October 24/2003)-- Halifax Regional Municipality today again cautioned residents NOT to enter local parks and playgrounds to help clear pathways of fallen trees and debris left as a result of Hurricane Juan.

Peter Bigelow, HRM's Manager of Real Property Planning, said citizens illegally entering parks and playgrounds for this reason are endangering their own health and safety, and potentially that of others.

Mr. Bigelow said "We certainly appreciate these helpful gestures and this type of community spirit, but we continue to warn our residents that our parks and playing fields remain closed to the public because they are unsafe. They will remain closed until our professional staff and others have the opportunity to complete a comprehensive assessment of these properties."

He said that parks, in particular, have a huge number of fallen or hung-up trees, and they are still too dangerous for general public access.

HRM staff are currently assessing damage, and this includes a hazard assessment of street and park trees, as well as other park infrastructure. The primary safety concern is that hung-up and partially- downed trees are very unpredictable as to how they will fall or react when cut. This type of work requires experienced professionals, who are able to properly assess these situations and take appropriate action to take down these trees.

Mr. Bigelow said "We urge the public to continue to stay out of the parks and playground areas. Efforts will begin next week to clean-up the parks of these hazards and to begin to make the necessary repairs. There will be opportunities in the future for the public to assist in the overall clean-up effort."

HRM is developing a special program to enable citizens who wish to volunteer to assist professional staff with the clean-up of various parks. There will also be opportunities for members of the public to contribute thoughts and ideas about how HRM should best address some of the more heavily-impacted parks, that will require more extensive restoration. More information will be made available in the next few weeks.

In the weeks since Hurricane Juan ravaged HRM, municipal parks teams have been teamed with other HRM street/road crews in working 24 hour/7 days a week shifts to clearing streets, respond to local emergencies and assist Nova Scotia Power in its effort to restore power to the thousands of HRM residents.

Now that this phase of the clean-up is near completion, parks crews will begin next week to focus their attention on assessing and cleaning-up HRM's parks, playgrounds, sports fields, green belt area and municipal walkways.

For those businesses, residents, church groups, sports clubs, service clubs, or Legions who wish to volunteer to join a clean-up effort are encouraged to join HRM's Adopt a Property Program.

Organized by HRM's Community Response Team, the program matches able-bodied volunteers with those who are unable due to health, age or other reasons to clear debris left on their property in the aftermath of Hurricane Juan.

To volunteer for such a group, residents are asked to call 490-4070 or to call 490-6360 - the Hurricane Juan Cleanup Line - to provide information as to private property locations that need to be cleared of debris.


Peter Bigelow
Manager, Real Property Planning
(902) 490-6047

Above content last modified Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 4:36pm.