Montreal garage owners worried about growing piles of used tires

Garage owners worried about slow pick-up of used tires
ABOVE: Garage owners worried about slow pick-up of used tires

Tire shops in Montreal’s west end neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce say slow pick-up of used tires is more than just an inconvenience, it is a fire risk.

While tire season is over at Gordons mechanic and tire shop in NDG, manager Rick Pavlopoulos told Global News that he still has his hands full because of the mountain of tires in the back of his garage.  Most have been there since November, he said.

“They’re not picking up the tires,” he fumed. “Recyc-Québec is supposed to pick up all the used [ones] that are no longer good on vehicles.”

But he said tires often remain there for months.

READ MORE: New Brunswick examining environmental impact of Minto tire fire

“I’ve been calling every week, my colleague Jennifer has been calling every week,” he added.  “Now we get to the point where we have almost 2,000 tires.”

Next door at Merson Automotive, manager Celso Louro said they have the same problem and that now their pile numbers around 600.

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“The [pickup] service, it is not very good,” he declared  “It is weak.”

He claimed he has to call repeatedly and wait for several weeks before tires are picked up.

“Well it is inconvenient because we need to find room for them,” he explained.

But the problem is even more serious than that, according to Rita Pozezanac who owns George’s Garage in St. Henri.  The number of homes close to her garage and the number of tires she has, worries her.

READ MORE: Minto tire fire covered with sand as air quality and water advisories remain in effect

“One day a fireman came to visit us … he said this should be illegal to keep so many tires,” she explained.  “Do you know what happened at Amable?” she asked, referring to the tire fire in St. Amable, Que. in 1990.  Three million tires burned for three days before the blaze was put out.

“Something like that happens here, with all the condos we have all around us, it would be a tragedy,” she stressed.

Pavlopoulos worries too.

“Can you imagine if some kids or anybody comes around and dumps something on there and lights it up on fire in the middle of the night?” he asked.  “Then what.”

Smoke quantity, density dropping as sand smothers New Brunswick tire fire
Smoke quantity, density dropping as sand smothers New Brunswick tire fire

In a statement to Global News Recyc-Quebec spokesperson Brigitte Geoffroy noted that pick-up times are normally 10 to 20 days, depending on the season. writing: “We are in peak periods and may have longer collection times during this busy period.  We ask garage owners to store their used tires safely.”

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She promised, however, that the organization will follow up with the carrier for NDG and the St. Henri neighbourhood.

Pavlopolous said he’ll wait and see, and hopes the problem ends soon, before something bad happens.