Mayor Valérie Plante will reveal new measures on clearing icy sidewalks in the city today, an announcement no-doubt prompted by the ice-removal controversy plaguing the Plante administration.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow because we will be making an announcement on something we’ve been working on that will support how boroughs can better deal with ice on sidewalks,” Plante said yesterday, reports The Gazette, alluding to the mayor’s impending announcement.
Plante’s announcement will really have to “wow” as city officials are embroiled in PR crisis at the moment, all due to a sluggish response on clearing ice off of sidewalks.
Over the weekend, the Plante administration was prepared to let the scheduled warm weather melt all of the ice on the streets and sidewalks. It would cost $15 million to launch a snow-clearing operation across the city, so municipal leaders decided to skip the costs and let nature handle things.
But the warm weather never came and, by Saturday night Jean-François Parenteau, executive committee member in charge of citizen services, announced that the city would indeed conduct a snow-and-ice removal operation the following evening.
It would be a little too late, for some.
One Montreal woman slipped on an icy sidewalk and was fully prepared to sue the city for damages.
She wasn’t alone.
Both the Royal Victoria and Montreal General Hospitals saw a major uptick in fracture cases caused by ice (25 and 27 cases, respectively) following the latest ice storm, according to data compiled by CTV News.
Adding to the drama is the ongoing dispute between the mayor of Anjou and the Plante administration.
To ensure the safety of Anjou residents, mayor of the borough Luis Miranda conducted his own snow-clearing operation, only to get in trouble with city hall.
The City of Montreal threatened Miranda with a $500,000 fine for removing snow and ice without official permission.
For the record, Plante said she respects the thought process behind Miranda’s opinion but believes he made the wrong move by going over the head of the central city administration.
Not everyone agrees.
All in all, icy sidewalks have become something of a controversy for Mayor Plante, making her upcoming announcement all the more interesting.
Plante has already said that her administration will devote an extra $6 million in sidewalk clearing funds for 2018.
Today Plante will outline how her administration will prioritize spending over the next three years. Expect snow removal and ice clearing to (now, if wasn’t before) be a big part of the speech.