09/15/2014 04:15 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST

Calgary snow: Tree cleanup prompts plea for disaster assistance

The City of Calgary will ask for provincial help to cover the millions of dollars spent cleaning up damaged trees from last week's snowstorm.

City officials have already spent more than $4 million and the bill is expected to double as cleanup continues.

Tom Sampson, deputy director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, says the city is asking the province for disaster assistance funding.

Sampson hopes the immediate cleanup will be done by the end of October, but assessing the damage to trees could take up to a year. He said public safety remains a concern, especially if the wind knocks down broken tree limbs so many parks are still closed.

It's estimated that 80 per cent of the city's trees were damaged by last week's snowstorms and the amount of debris expected at the landfill from the storm will be even greater than the debris from last year’s flood.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the parks department may need a budget boost this fall to replace aging and fallen trees.

"We've lost so much. It's almost a certainty that they're going to need a one-time infusion. Question is will it be city cash or provincial cash? But we have to do a lot of Johnny Appleseed work."

What to do with damaged trees, branches

- Calgary’s landfills aren’t charging for tree debris, but don’t mix it in with other waste. The locations are Spyhill, Shepard and East Calgary.

- The city’s leaf and pumpkin drop-off locations are now open and accepting damaged tree limbs.

- Cut the branches and trunks into lengths less than 1.2 metres and stack beside the garbage and recycling carts for home pickup.

- Seniors and people who are unable to clean up their yards can contact the City Links program for help by calling 311.