Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Montreal Officials Taking Heat over Icy Sidewalks, Sluggish Snow Removal

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Montreal Officials Taking Heat over Icy Sidewalks, Sluggish Snow Removal

Article excerpt

Montreal officials face criticism over snow removal


Montreal officials are getting an earful from residents over tardy snow removal that has left icy, snow-packed sidewalks across town.

Over the weekend, the city's new administration issued a mea culpa after only beginning snow-removal operations on Sunday, several days after a storm hit the city.

Mayor Valerie Plante's team lost a bet with Mother Nature after they thought a warm late-January weekend would melt the snow and save the city money.

That decision has meant some Montrealers have been moving more slowly, but others have ended up with serious injuries.

Nadya Mirachi said she slipped on a patch of ice near her home in the east-end Riviere-des-Prairies district last Thursday, breaking her ankle in three places.

The 38-year-old mother was fuming from her hospital bed on Tuesday, awaiting surgery while imploring the city to work faster.

"All the bones in my ankle are broken, there are only skin and ligaments holding up my foot," said Mirachi, whose gruesome injury was caught on a neighbour's surveillance camera.

She said her recovery will take several months and she plans to sue.

"I filed a complaint with the city," Mirachi said. "I will go as far as I can (legally), it's not about the money, this affects the rest of my life."

Stefan Overhoff, a spokesman for the ambulance service, said paramedics fielded more calls for spills over the weekend -- mainly injured knees, wrists and ankles.

The conditions have led to some Montrealers -- particularly older ones -- to stay home.

Mary Stark, director of Contactivity, a seniors' centre, said as hearty as her clients are, they don't want to take the risk.

"There's a big concern about slipping and falling," Stark said. "If a senior has a fall, it can be life-changing, it can affect the rest of their lives dramatically so some people have hesitated to come. …

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