High winds uproot tree, damaging Town-owned structure

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In what was a completely freakish and unheard-of incident, high wind speeds blew through the Pincher Creek region mid-January causing damage to public property.

Obviously windy weather is something that Pincher Creek is infamous for, and it’s not unusual for high speed winds to cause disruptions throughout the community.

However, wind speeds reached some extremes throughout the week of January 11, peaking on Wednesday, Jan. 13 and getting the best of some of the Town’s natural beauty.

The result was a decades-old tree being uprooted next to the Sobeys parking lot, which collided with a Town-owned structure causing exterior damages.

Luckily enough however, Town of Pincher Creek Recreation Manager Adam Grose said the damages were seemingly minimal.

“The building that it hit is actually the old swimming pool building, and that closed down in the late ‘90s due to a fire,” said Grose.

“It’s used for storage now, so we just have some Town supplies in there.”

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The cost incurred by the damage hasn’t been determined yet, but Grose said it should be covered by the Recreation Departments budgeted funds, and isn’t severe enough to go through insurance.

“Tin’s not terribly expensive, so we should be able to repair it ourselves. Our deductible for buildings for the Town is $5,000 so we’re not going to be going through insurance for it,” said Grose.

“We’ll end up repairing it ourselves—I estimate it will be under $1,000 (in repairs).”

Wind speeds for the week peaked on January 13 at 93 km/h according to the weather stats for the area, but the tree blowing over was seemingly an isolated incident for the Town of Pincher Creek during periods of high winds.

Power outages also occurred in areas of the M.D. of Pincher Creek and the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, although it’s not clear if it was wind-related or not.

Incidents relating to high wind speeds are relatively commonplace in the Pincher Creek region, affecting both public and private property.

Grose said that with regular high-speed wind events, these types of events are inevitable.

“We often get wind like that at least a couple times throughout the year, and it’s usually this time of year that it’s the worst,” he said.

“You hear stories of granaries blowing over—even Quonset buildings, calving sheds. We’ve even heard stories of bales getting rolled in fields. It does happen quite often around here.”

The tree in question was cut up, with remaining pieces left behind for residents to salvage as firewood.

Some parts of the tree were also transported to the Sage Early Learning Centre next to St. Michael’s school to be added as natural play space features.

There were a couple larger sections of the tree that were rotting on the inside, which will most likely be sent to the landfill along with the stump.

“We just need to get some equipment in there to remove it,” said Grose.

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