The West Island was one of the hardest hit areas in the province during the recent ice storm, with many forced to live without electricity for more than three days.

That's why Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle is very frank when he speaks about the state of Hydro-Quebec’s grid.

"The distribution model that’s being used in the province of Quebec to me is weak, it’s old, it’s very fragile," he said.

"Can you imagine if it was minus 20 or 25?"

He and other West Island mayors say now is the time to bury power lines, something Quebec's premier has said is not realistic since the price tag for a province-wide project could be $100 billion.

"It doesn’t have to cost billions if we start incrementally," said Pointe-Claire Mayor Tim Thomas.

ice storm

Both Thomas and Bourelle say every time a road is redone or a new development is built, Hydro-Quebec should take the opportunity to bury power lines.

"We should be burying crucial lines anyhow for hospitals for emergency services," Thomas added.

The idea to bury power lines was one of the recommendations issued by the Nicolet Commission following the 1998 ice storm, but according to Hydro-Quebec, to date, there are 34,000 kilometres of lines overhead and just 200 kilometres underground.

Bourelle said that demonstrates only one thing. "We didn’t learn very well from 1998."

LISTEN on CJAD 800: Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle on the path for getting power lines underground