90 per cent of snow cleared as city races to meet Monday morning deadline
A small snowplow pushes snow in Montreal nearly a week after a record snowfall. (Jean-Luc Boulch / CTV Montreal)
Published Saturday, January 5, 2013 4:46PM EST
MONTREAL—For the ninth time since record snowfall hit Montreal on Dec. 27, a municipal spokesman stood in front of city hall at exactly 10:30 a.m. to announce what percentage of streets were clear.
On Saturday, 90 per cent of Montreal’s streets and sidewalks had been plowed and shoveled, said Jacques-Alain Lavallee, spokesman for the City of Montreal, repeating his morning ritual.
With thousands of plows, the city had 3,000 employees working around-the-clock to clear the remaining 10 per cent of streets before a self-imposed deadline early Monday morning.
However, nature wasn’t cooperating with those plans.
“Our forecast calls for five to 10 centimetres of snow, which will start probably during the night,” said Lavallee, wearing the same brown toque for over a week. “That could slow down operations, however we still have our target of Sunday night.”
With snow removals crews that could seconded to spraying abrasives and snow clearing within hours, Lavallee walked a fine line on Saturday.
Criticized for a clean-up effort that saw main arteries unplowed for days, the city’s spokesman on the snow file said that Montreal’s main objective was now clearing residential streets.
“We understand your situation and our main objective is to clear your streets by Sunday,” Lavallee said, taking a moment to address frustrated Montrealers.
On Friday, Lachine was the first of the city’s 19 boroughs to officially finish snow clearing. The majority of the city’s other boroughs expect to shovel snow until Monday’s 7 a.m. deadline.