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West Islanders dig out from winter storm after snow-removal company abruptly folds

Abandoned Bo Pelouse clients shovel themselves out of the storm
WATCH: Thousands of Bo Pelouse clients were forced to dig out their driveways Tuesday morning after the long-standing West Island snow removal company announced it was ceasing operations. As Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines reports the heavy snowfall has residents and snow contractors scrambling.

Thousands of former Bo Pelouse clients are doing their best to clear heavy snow from their driveways on Tuesday after the Pointe-Claire company unexpectedly ceased all operations.

Bo Pelouse, a snow-removal company, abruptly shut down Monday ahead of a major snowstorm in southern Quebec. It had operated in Montreal’s West Island for nearly 30 years.

Eddie Kane, 86, lives in Dorval. He was left in the lurch when Bo Pelouse closed — but a kind neighbour offered a helping hand and cleared his snow-covered driveway.

“I can’t do it myself,” said Kane. “And I don’t have a contractor anymore.”

READ MORE: West Islanders scramble after local snow-removal company ceases operations

The winter storm brought about 15 cm of snow to Montreal by Tuesday morning, according to the city. While the worst part is over, the snow is expected to taper off Wednesday morning.

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The sudden closure left West Island residents surprised and scrambling to find alternative options as snow descended on the area.

Pointe-Claire resident Vanessa Paradis shovelled her driveway alongside her family. Without Bo Pelouse’s services, it took them several hours to remove the heavy snow.

“Today, I guess we can see it as an activity, but for the rest of the winter I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said.

“Hopefully find a new company.”

‘They aren’t too happy’

Marc Guindon, the owner of Bo Pelouse, has issued a public apology to clients on the company’s website. He said Bo Pelouse was struggling for several years but that he had no other option than to immediately close down this week.

Local competitors were also caught off guard as news quickly spread that Bo Pelouse was going out of business.

Alanna Roszkowski is the co-owner of DLC, which owns Grizzly Snow Removal. She told Global News that her staff has fielded phone calls and emails from nearly 2,000 residents over the past two days.

“It’s definitely quite a shock,” she said. “We are doing the best we can.”

West Islanders left to dig out as local snow-removal company ceases operations
West Islanders left to dig out as local snow-removal company ceases operations

As a result, the company’s crew is out in full force and offering free assistance this time to anyone who needs their driveway cleared. DLC said it has also hired nearly 20 drivers who worked for Bo Pelouse.

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READ MORE: Montreal to launch snow-removal operations on Thursday as winter storm continues

Pete Donais said he was unemployed for two days before he was hired by DLC. Bo Pelouse’s clients are upset about being left in the cold after the company went under, he added.

“They aren’t too happy,” he said. “A day before a big storm and Bo Pelouse is out of business. Not too good.”

Clients like Paradis also have questions about what will happen to the money they paid to Bo Pelouse. She said is in contact with PayPal to see about a potential refund.

“We’re not too sure about the refund,” she said. “We will wait a few days and see.”

— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines