Getting around Montreal is a slippery task

Watch: Ice and rain mean power outages in Montreal — Tim Sargeant reports.

MONTREAL — They say there’s no joy in Mudville … but what about Iceville? That could be the new name to dub the great Canadian metropolis of Montreal.

Mother Nature’s winter wrath and the lack of salted streets and sidewalks has made it very difficult for more than a million people to get around the island.

READ MORE: Widespread blackouts in Quebec due to freezing rain

Ice covers many places, making commutes more suitable for people lacing up skates than putting on boots.

City officials insist they’re doing all they can with more than 1,000 street and sidewalk plows and other de-icing machines clearing more than 10,000 kilometres of roads and walkways. Montreal also uses more than 140,000 tonnes of rock salt and other abrasives annually to keep streets and sidewalks clear and dry.

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IN PHOTOS: Frozen landscapes after Montreal’s icy rain storm 

However, extreme weather swings make it very difficult for salt to be effective, according Jacques-Alain Lavallée, the spokesperson for Montreal Public Works.

“We’re facing exceptional situations and we have such a large span of weather changes that we’re adjusting our operations almost on an hour basis,” he said.

READ MORE: Montreal’s latest weather forecast 

In the suburbs, the icy conditions are no better.

The mayor of Pointe-Claire downplays the lack of rock salt on local streets and sidewalks, arguing it’s often ineffective.

“When you put salt on the ice, it just goes right through. Unless you’re on a major thoroughfare like St. John’s Road or Hymus Boulevard, the salt will work on the ice, but on minor streets, the smaller streets, it doesn’t work properly,” Morris Trudeau said from his Pointe-Claire City Hall office.

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