CDN-NDG struggling to remove snow
Councillors in the borough of Cote des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grace have new reasons as to why snow removal has been so slow this winter.
CDN-NDG never managed to clear every street after an earlier storm in January before last week's hefty 36-centimetre snowfall, and the borough has consistently had a lower percentage of streets cleared than anywhere else in Montreal.
As of Thursday morning only two-thirds (67%) of streets were cleared of snow, the lowest percentage in the city. By afternoon, that number had increased 71 per cent.
The city average is at 89 per cent, and ten other boroughs are at more than 90 per cent, or even completed.
To date the borough's mayor and councillors have presented a litany of reasons for the delays.
The most recent offering comes from councillor Peter Mcqueen, who said Wednesday that snow removal in the borough is in the final year of a contract signed by then-borough mayor Michael Applebaum -- and said in the future, the borough will be at the mercy of the central city because of actions taken by former mayor Denis Coderre.
"Snow clearing is also a service that Coderre had started centralizing, so the borough will no longer launch its own contracts, all will go through centre city with uniform service requirements," said Mcqueen.
Meanwhile councillor Marvin Rotrand said another factor is that CDN-NDG has been barred from using the nearest snow dump.
Because of the heavy snowfall, the location near the Angrignon Mall has been placed off-limits to all boroughs except LaSalle, so trucks full of snow are heading to the St. Michel dump - a logistical nightmare for CDN-NDG.
“Obviously the trucks will get stuck in traffic,” said Rotrand.
Even though the private contractor responsible for clearing snow in the borough only hauls away snow at night, Montgomery has said those trucks are frequently stuck in traffic "for literally hours."
Rotrand agreed that sending trucks further away makes snow removal quite difficult.
"Every minute that a truck's in transit means a minute that a truck's not picking up snow in our borough, so we're a bit behind. But there are solutions. The first thing the new administration has to loosen up," said Rotrand.
"Let's get back to giving the boroughs the ability to react to snow problems in their own territory in ways that meet their needs."
On Jan. 11 Montgomery wrote a statement saying that another reason for delayed snow clearing is that two snowblowers broke down
Some residents have asked Montgomery why the borough does not use another location to dump snow, such as the former Blue Bonnets racetrack which has been abandoned for years.
Montgomery said "I asked about that and there are environmental issues around that because there's so much salt in the snow.”
The borough has also offered another reason for delays hauling away snow: the large number of drivers who ignore no-parking signs.
City officials say CDN-NDG has one of the highest number of cars that need to be towed away each winter as people park on the street.
In an effort to speed up snow removal the borough's private contractors are, as of Thursday, going to work during the day.
The snow is expected to be fully cleared by Saturday.