The major snowstorm that hit Moose Jaw on Oct. 23 cost the city over $173,000 for snow removal and cleaning up damaged trees. 

The storm included heavy, wet snow. Environment and Climate Change Canada estimated that over 30 centimetres of snow fell over a 48-hour period. The clean-up of damaged trees is expected to cost the city $107,100, which was unbudgeted, and $66,000 for snow removal which will be absorbed through the snow removal budget. 

Over 1,000 city trees on boulevards and in parks and open spaces were damaged and the city received over 400 tree-related requests since the storm hit and they are still receiving calls. 

"Many of our trees at that point had only just begun falling the leaves. So with that, a lot of the wet snow clung to the branches and to the limbs. The additional strain added to the trees' caused many branches to break, trees to fall and really left quite the mess within our community," said Director of Parks and Recreation Derek Blais. 

In comparison, the city received 528 tree-related requests in all of 2021. 

The city hired a tree contractor the week of Oct. 24 to help with the clean-up. Once high-priority safety issues were addressed, the city began cleaning up tree debris on city boulevards beginning on South Hill on Oct. 31. A second crew started clean-up efforts on Nov. 1 for the northwest part of the city as well as Crescent Park. Clean-up of the avenues, Sunningdale and the northeast part of the city is expected to begin this week and continue until the end of the month. 

According to the city, final seasonal layoffs for outdoor parks staff usually happen in the last week of October but seven season staff were retained to help with the clean-up. Blais added that the Parks and Recreation staff have been working overtime to get the city cleaned up. As a result, the outdoor rinks will likely not be ready until later this month. 

"We've also been trying to balance our regular operations with this clean-up," Blais said. "This time of the year it is very busy. Last week, particularly, was a very busy week in our cemeteries. We had a number of burials that staff had to attend." 

The $107,100 cost was unbudgeted in the forestry budget. The forestry budget was already $14,020 over budget due to an unanticipated repair to the city's bucket truck. This overage in the budget will now likely be made up through the accumulated surplus reserve. 

For snow removal, the Public Works and Utilities Department enacted its extreme weather response, which allowed the department to acquire additional resources. The city saved money as a snow haul was not needed due to the melting temperatures afterwards. That savings, however, covered the additional cost for back lane tree clean-ups. 

Overall, snow removal and sanding cost the city $50,000 and the back lane tree clean-up cost $16,000. The cost will be absorbed by the city's snow removal budget. 

Director of Public Works Darrin Stephanson said they also had a delay getting contractors with semis to help with the clean-up. 

"Those are all used in summer construction activities with whatever companies that put in a tender," said Stephanson.  

"When we have major storms like this at the start of November when they are still in full construction mode trying to finish things up before the end of the year, they aren't ready to provide those services to the city yet. We won't typically see those until December sometime." 

Meanwhile, the Golden Ticket Sports Centre and the Pla-Mor Palace experienced flooding damage following the storm. 

Both buildings are undergoing roof replacements from the same contractor. When the storm hit, the temporary roof seals leaked, causing flooding in both buildings. 

The contractor was out-of-town when the storm hit and couldn't get back to Moose Jaw until 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 due to road closures. The contractors cleared off the roofs and began re-sealing the areas that were leaking. The city had to contract a remediation company to help with the water clean-up at the Golden Ticket Sports Centre as leaking continued throughout the week. 

The Golden Ticket Sports Centre received the most damage. The hardwood gym floor was completely saturated along with significant water damage in the second-floor viewing area. The city was notified that the gym floor may need to be replaced entirely before it can be used again. 

An insurance claim has been opened by the city's Parks and Recreation Department to recover remediation and repair costs through the contractor's insurance provider as the contractor was responsible for protecting city assets while the roof is being replaced. Golden Ticket has also opened an insurance claim through the contractor's insurance company for lost revenue and cost recovery. 

The city's responsibility for the damage is in the $70,000 to $100,000 range, while the gym floor damage under Golden Ticket's responsibility will be in the $260,000 range. 

The damage at the Pla-Mor Palace was less severe and will just involve a lot of cleaning up. 

The roof replacement projects were expected to be completed by Nov. 10 but that has been delayed until the end of November due to the storm. Once the roof replacements are completed, the city will begin repairing any damage to the buildings.