Montreal threatens Anjou with fine for clearing snow
Mayor Valerie Plante finds herself on a slippery slope again. This time the slope is on the streets and sidewalks of the city, coated in a thick layer of ice – thick enough to warrant independent action from Luis Miranda, the Mayor of the borough of Anjou.
After last week’s freeze up of ice and slush, Miranda was concerned about the central city’s decision to wait until the mild weather the following Saturday to start clearing operations – which Jean-Francois Parenteau, the Executive Committee member responsible for snow removal, believed would melt some of the ice and make it easier to dislodge.
Mayor Miranda did not want to bet on the weather and decided to take things into his own hands and ordered a snow removal operation in the borough last week before it froze solid – and he was right, the mild thaw did very little to the hazardous conditions and everything froze up. And now the city is fining him for doing so, as he ‘was not authorized to remove snow and ice ahead of schedule’ according to the disciplinary letter he received afterwards.
According to Jean-Francois Parenteau, Miranda only had permission to carry out snow-clearing when the ‘central city said so’ and that his borough would have to cover all costs related to the operation.
To add ‘salt to the wound’, the city has levied a fine on the borough for $500,000 – which Miranda said is far above the $200 to $300,000 it should be.
Montreal crews spread salt and abrasives after the initial storm, but it was not enough and many Montrealers were injured as they slipped and fell while trying to navigate the city. Paramedics were kept busy as an increase of calls came in for ice-related injuries. The city later said the decision to delay operations was wrong – a little too late for the many who found themselves at emergency waiting rooms.
It wasn’t until last Sunday when the central city authorized snow removal operations to remove the thick layers of ice. In the meantime, Anjou is the first borough with ice-free streets and sidewalks.
As for the fine, Mayor Miranda said he will fight it and won’t pay it, as he was simply looking out for the security of his constituents – something with traction resonating with many Montrealers.