IT will take at least “several weeks” to make all of the Island’s parks safe following the destruction done by Storm Ciarán, it has been announced.
Bruce Labey, senior operations manager for parks and gardens, commended the “sterling” work carried out by both the government’s forestry team and private tree surgeons over the past two weeks, with some roads still in the process of being cleared.
Government-run parks remain closed to the public due to the dangers posed by damaged trees.
Mr Labey explained: “Once we have finished making the roads safe and passable, then we can get in and inspect the parks. We can’t open them until we’ve inspected them, because there are some very large hanging branches in some of the trees and there are some unstable trees which are not as visible. There are still a lot of trees we’re going to have to take down because they’ve had their roots damaged.”
He continued: “We can’t have people being injured by branches or even twigs. Frankly, we’ve got to inspect every tree in every park. Then, if necessary, we have got to climb every tree with a chainsaw and remove the hanging branches, the damaged branches, the twisted ones – basically it’s going to take weeks. “We know we can open the Winston Churchill Park pretty swiftly, as there’s very little damaged timber in the sense of felled trees.
“Next would be Howard Davis Park. We’ll try to get that open as quickly as we can – but it’s going to be several weeks. The worst-affected is Coronation Park at Millbrook. That’s been flattened in certain areas and there are a lot of big pine trees in there.”
Mr Labey said he was grateful to Islanders for their patience and stressed that the closures were in the interest of public safety.
“Please bear with us. We’re not doing this to be awkward; we’re doing this to make it safe for you and your kids to enjoy the parks.”