Montrealers across the island are complaining about the state of city sidewalks, with many of them still covered in thick, chunky ice, weeks after the most recent winter storm.
“Sidewalks are really bad,” said Pamela Messine, as she walked gingerly along Monkland Boulevard in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. “I am going as slow as possible.”
In NDG, residents complain side streets are neglected.
“It’s been hell. The sidewalks have been a disaster, the streets have been a disaster,” said Peter Kahn.
Kahn runs a snow-clearing business, and he says the city hasn’t cleared sidewalks properly.
“I know the kind of conditions the workers have been dealing with, but it just seems the abrasives and the salts were not put down at the appropriate times,” Kahn said.
In Westmount, Mayor Christina Smith said almost 100 per cent of city streets had been cleaned. She says she has been fielding complaints from citizens, but says people need patience, because snow clearing takes longer now. That’s because provincial laws limit the hours crews can work.
WATCH: Icy conditions wreak havoc on Montreal pedestrians
“We have had a continual question of, ‘it used to be faster, it used to be faster,'” Smith said. “It used to be one day faster because now provincial law states [that] after 70 hours, truck drivers have to have a break.
“So if you have a huge storm, you will reach the 70 hours before we clean the whole city. It’s a provincial law but it’s a law for the safety or our drivers and our citizens.”
The icy conditions have also kept emergency rooms busy. The MUHC says that since the bad weather started two weeks ago, they’ve seen a 30 to 40 per cent increase in fractures, mainly to wrists and ankles.
For her part, Mayor Valerie Plante issued a fiery directive to borough mayors to do a better job.
The Opposition, though, says the city has to do more to get rid of the ice on sidewalks.
“She is simply panicking, she doesn’t know what to do,” said Opposition leader Lionel Perez. “We have to go ahead and break up the ice that is along the sidewalks and on the sidewalks and clear that ice.
“We are at that point. It’s unacceptable at the beginning of February we are dealing with this kind of situation.”