Delays in road clearing a "baptism by snow" for CDN-NDG mayor
For Sue Montgomery, the last few weeks have been a “baptism by snow.”
That’s the term the Cote-Des-Neiges-NDG mayor used to describe the first large challenge of her relatively new administration. Voted into office as part of Valerie Plante’s Projet Montreal in November, Montgomery’s January has been marked by delays in snow removal that have left streets and sidewalks clogged and parking often a challenge.
“Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” she said on Sunday. “It was a series of unfortunate events. We had a lot of snow in a short period of time, we had two snow blowers break, then we were told we could no longer dump our snow down through the Turcot. Before that, the trucks were caught in traffic. So it was one thing after another.”
A mid-January storm left 36 centimetres of snow on Montreal and CDN-NDG struggled to keep up with clearing operations. Along with broken machinery, officials have also said a major problem is trucks stuck in traffic on their way to a dumping site in St-Michel. A closer dumping site near Angrignon Mall had been placed off-limits due to the volume of snow.
The city’s $163 million snow removal budget covers five clearing operations per year. If around 15 cms falls in the coming days it would launch the 3rd blitz of 2018 @CTVMontreal— Kelly Greig (@KellyGreig) January 22, 2018
Montgomery said the issue could remain as work on the Turcot continues over the next 18 months.
“We’ve already seen the impact it’s had on the trucks trying to get there, they’re stuck in traffic and it slows down the entire operation,” she said.
For some residents walking in the Monkland Village on Sunday, the reasons for the delays rang hollow.
"I've read some things about trucks breaking down and they can't find a place to dump the snow, but I think that's the job of our administrators, to solve those problems," said one pedestrian.
City councillor Peter McQueen has noted that the borough is in the final year of a contract signed by former mayor Michael Applebaum and in the future, the City of Montreal will be negotiating new contracts. Montgomery said it’s unclear how that will affect snow removal starting next year.
In the meantime, with another snowfall and freezing rain on the horizon, Montgomery said residents should take steps to avoid using their cars as much as possible.
“People need to plan ahead, give yourself some time, maybe take some public transit or walk,” she said.