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Ensemble Montréal denounces the new snow removal policy

Photo: Valerian Mazataud Le Devoir Valérie Plante's administration wishes to have its new snow removal policy adopted at the next municipal council meeting to be held on April 15.

Jeanne Corriveau

April 4, 2024

  • Montreal

Instead of making snow removal more efficient in Montreal, Valérie Plante's administration will reduce services with the new snow removal policy that it intends to adopt, supports the opposition at city hall which denounces the upcoming reform. The elected official responsible for snow removal, Maja Vodanovic, replies that on the contrary, the new rules will allow greater flexibility in operations in order to better adapt to climate change.

Ensemble Montréal revealed Thursday that the draft snow removal policy envisaged by the administration will increase from 3.1 to 4.3 the number of days granted to employees and subcontractors to carry out snow removal operations. In addition, the size of the sectors that they will have to clear snow will be increased to reach 40 km, rather than 30 km. By extending the length of the snow removal teams' circuits, the new measures risk forcing the boroughs to share the service and dissatisfying residents who live in the areas plowed later, believes the opposition.

With average tax increases of 4.9%, Montrealers could have expected services to be improved, says the mayor of Saint-Laurent, Alan DeSousa. However, they will instead be entitled to a reduction in services, he deplores.

That’s not all, he said. The districts will only be entitled to one local load of snow, instead of the two previously planned.

These new rules will have a “perverse effect”, believes Alan DeSousa. He mentions the decision of many Montrealers to opt for SUVs (sport utility vehicles) in order to maneuver on poorly plowed streets. “The City wants to reduce the number of SUVs and cars on its territory. But if the City does not collect the snow, we will have big piles of snow on the streets and to get out of these big piles of snow, we need SUVs,” he explains.

More flexibility

The person responsible for snow removal on the City's executive committee, Maja Vodanovic, says the new policy will better meet the needs of citizens. City teams have been working on the project for a year and a survey carried out among Montrealers concluded that clearing sidewalks was the main concern of citizens, while loading snow, a very expensive operation, appeared at the bottom of the list. the list of their priorities. “What's really problematic with climate change is sidewalks and pedestrian safety,” she explained.

This is how the City plans to only order snow loading once the sidewalks are clear. In addition, the landing areas for people with reduced mobility will be cleared as a priority. “In the new policy, landing areas will have to be made along with sidewalks. We are going to give a special contract to clear the landing stages in all the districts. »

The new policy will also make it possible to decree partial loadings of snow depending on precipitation which can vary from one borough to another, whereas previously, it was the entire territory of the city which should be the subject of such an operation, regardless of the real needs, indicated Ms. Vodanovic.

This greater flexibility will make it possible to adapt operations to the vagaries of the weather and the upheavals of winter, believes the elected official.

As for the opposition's criticisms about the expansion of the areas to be cleared of snow, Ms. Vodanovic maintains that it is essentially a question of granting a single contract for the snow removal of major roads such as avenue Papineau, rue Sherbrooke or boulevard René-Lévesque, rather than fragmenting this operation according to the boroughs crossed. The administration believes that all these measures will allow the City to save money.

Despite the administration's explanations, the leader of the opposition, Aref Salem, does not budge. “We are saving pennies with a basic service,” he says.

Although discussions are still ongoing with the boroughs, the administration wishes to have its new snow removal policy adopted at the next municipal council meeting to be held on April 15.

As for the heavy snow that fell on the metropolis on Thursday, the City is not planning loading operations on its territory, preferring to leave it to the rise in the mercury to take care of it. make it disappear in the coming days.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116