‘Where are they?’ Residents frustrated as snow clearing stops just shy of halfway mark
UPDATED: On New Year's Day, the City of Montreal reported that 48 per cent of streets had been cleared.
MONTREAL—With thousands of city workers plowing streets for the fourth day of a major clean up, most will be standing down for a mandatory 36-hour break starting New Year’s Eve.
The majority of the city’s streets have yet to see a proper plowing, leaving residents scratching their heads on Monday. In Park-Extension, one man was so upset with the snow clearing he flagged down CTV Montreal.
“I tried to reach the City of Montreal and like you know, I didn’t get an answer,” said Park-Extension resident Poly Doros Gounaris. “Nobody cares, everyone is on holidays.
“You see what we are living through here,” said Gounaris, gesturing at a stretch of Durocher St. with high snow banks and sidewalks reduced to unplowed dog trails. “Everyone is walking on the streets, which puts their lives in danger and the city doesn’t care.
“Where are they?”
Despite near universal frustration amongst residents slipping and sliding on sidewalks and streets, the City of Montreal and its 19 boroughs are required by provincial law to suspend most snow-clearing operations at midnight.
“I'm able-bodied so I'm fine, but for older people, it's a chore for them if they have to go out and climb over two and a half feet of snow,” said Jo-Anne Zetariuk. “It's not pleasant for them.”
While a lot of work is left, most blue-collars on plows and shovels have worked 70 hours in seven days or less, they are now required to stand-down for 36-hours by law. The city expects to complete snow-clearing before next Monday’s rush-hour.
As of Monday afternoon, 42 per cent of the city’s streets were cleared.
“Usually we’d be at 60 per cent after three days of a five day operation. We are currently at 42 per cent. After a historical snowstorm of 45-centimetres I’m happy with the work that has been done,” said Montreal spokesman Michel Frenette.
“The big challenge is that we have large and huge snow banks to remove, and it takes maybe two or three times of the passing of the snow blower to remove the snow.”
Fayza Badaro, 68, is losing patience. Sidewalks near her apartment building in St-Laurent still aren't clear.
“That's not fair to walk like that in the middle of the street. I have problems with my leg. It's not only me; there are other ladies too, elderly people, so something has to be done about it,” said Badaro.
Some workers will continue to clear snow in the Ville-Marie borough past midnight in anticipation of crowds going to and from New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Some boroughs to continue work on Jan. 1
Despite the general work stoppage across Montreal, workers will continue to plow streets in Ville-Marie, Lachine, Lasalle, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Outremont, Pierrefonds-Roxboro and the Plateau Mont-Royal on Jan. 1.
Workers in those boroughs had already taken enough rest to continue under provincial law. Citizens of those boroughs are asked to continue to respect “No Parking” signs installed before snow-clearing.