Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is on the defensive about sidewalk clearing.

A week after the city was hit with an ice storm, many are still complaining about unsafe sidewalks.

Plante and Jean-Francois Parenteau, the director of city services, came forward Wednesday saying they have a new plan to clear the ice and prevent more trips to the ER.

The city is set to purchase a new kind of machine – which Plante has dubbed ‘ice crushers’ – that are speedy, small vehicles designed to break up ice.

Plante said she believes the city is doing a good job clearing the snow but admitted things have not gone as smoothly with salting walkways and general ice clearing.

“We're really good at removing snow but one of the things we need to improve is everything related to ice,” she said.

The city hasn't revealed what they'll cost, but the boroughs will all be able to order them.

Hospitals have shown an increase in fractures: 

  • Royal Victoria Hospital saw 25 fractures due to ice on Jan. 22, compared to 8 cases on Jan. 8
  • Montreal General Hospital saw 72 fractures due to ice on Jan. 22, compared to 38 cases on Jan. 8

Parenteau says new snow and ice measures are needed, including a new snow dump, as several are at capacity.

“So we negotiated with [Quebec’s environment ministry] to have a certificate of authorization to use the Blue Bonnet land,” he said.

Plante said she has confidence in Parenteau, but that every borough has to do a better job.

There’s also a pledge to meet and work with the boroughs to harmonize efforts – though that meeting is set toward the end of the harsh season, on March 9.

“Everything related to securing sidewalks, which is a responsibility of every borough. What we've been saying to boroughs is put as much salt as possible, so it's safer. At this point the security of citizens is very important and I'm asking all boroughs to continue to put a lot of effort on that front,” said Plante.

The news comes as the city is at odds with the borough of Anjou for its rogue snow clearing operation.

The borough's mayor Luis Miranda decided to go ahead with snow removal, arguing it was imperative to remove the slush and snow before it froze solid.

“The way they're doing it, we're not going ahead we're going backwards,” said Miranda – who said he was right to remove the snow, and he’s do it again.

“The reason is very simple. I took out the snow before it turned into ice. Last weekend, they waited for it to melt. They waited too long. It melted a bit. Water stays on the street - where does it go? It turns into ice.”

On Saturday, Parenteau admitted he made a mistake by thinking last week's thaw would take care of the ice.

Despite the admission, the city of Montreal is threatening to fine the borough of Anjou $500,000 for clearing snow without permission.