'Who will clear all the snow?' Residents abandoned as West Island company closes just before big snowstorm
MONTREAL -- A well-known snow removal company in Montreal’s West Island, Bo-Pelouse, is closing its doors after 30 years in business, just before a significant snowstorm is expected to blanket Montreal.
The news was first confirmed by Pointe-Claire City Councillor Eric Stork in a message posted to his community Facebook page Monday morning.
The post, which Stork says he obtained from the Bo-Pelouse owner, Marc Guindon, states in part “it is with a heavy heart that I must let you all know that after trying my hardest, Bo-Pelouse will be ceasing its operations.”
Clients reacted swiftly with shock and anger on social media after learning they may soon be snowed-in, some saying they were never contacted by the company directly.
The voicemail at the number associated with the company is full, and CTV News was unable to reach Guindon for comment.
“So, what does that mean for those of us who have contracts with them for the season?” one worried client asked in a Facebook post.
Another person wrote she is concerned about a 90-year-old senior who won’t be able to get out of her house if no one can shovel her walkway.
This afternoon, Marc Guindon, issued a second statement, which is now the only item posted on the company’s website.
Guindon offers his customers his “deepest apologies for any and all inconveniences,” and goes on to say he had been working up until yesterday to find a way to save his struggling business – but to no avail (see the full statement, below).
According to the Eric Stork, who told CTV News he spoke to the Bo-Pelouse owner, the snow removal business had as many as 5,000 clients in Pointe-Claire alone.
Some on social media say they paid the company up to $280 in advance and hope they’ll get their money back.
Customers chasing a refund might be out of luck if they paid for the snow clearing services upfront, according to a spokesperson from Quebec’s Consumer Protection Bureau, who explained consumers should always pay the bill in installments throughout the winter. Charles Tanguay said if a company files for bankruptcy, clients can register as creditors, but that process would likely result in diminished returns. If a person paid by credit card, however, they can request a refund from the credit card company.
The owner of another snow-clearing operator on the West Island, Southwest Garden and Snow, says he will do what he can to help out.
Dan Olah tells CTV News he is currently in the process of taking names and phone numbers from anyone who reaches out to him, but it will be “almost impossible” for him to take on a large number of new clients at the last minute.
Some Bo-Pelouse customers lament they’ve lost a reliable service, noting they’ve hired the company for decades of winters and “never had any issues.”
Full statement from Bo-Pelouse
I would like to offer to all, loyal and new customers my deepest apologies for any and all inconveniences being suffered. I have been servicing this community for 30 years and I have considered it a privilege. For the last 4 years the company was struggling but I was always able to get it back on track. I was still in discussions and trying to find a solution yesterday but with negative outcome. It became then painfully evident that I could not this time. I have lived, participated, donated, created employment and raised my family in this community. I know that some of you are angry and disappointed as am I. Please know that comments being made on social media are being read by my family that suffers with me. Things being posted about me taking huge amounts of money to go live abroad are false. As these comments are being posted I am losing all that I have worked for those 30 years. Again, please accept my sincerest apologies
With reporting from Billy Shields of CTV News, Montreal