City of Montreal renting high-powered snowblowers for $5M to deal with Old Man Winter

Winter's not over yet and the city of Montreal is breaking out the big guns to deal with it - high-powered snow blowers. And it won't be cheap.

The city is renting 10 high-powered snow blowers and people to operate them - the snowblowers 4 to 60 times more powerful than their average machinery. 

The cost of the two month rental: almost $5.3M.

Executive committee member in charge of snow removal Jean-François Parenteau told the weekly meeting of the executive committee that they want to maximize the use of the newly authorized snow dumps - one at the old Blue Bonnets site and one near Angrignon Park in LaSalle. The super snow blowers can blow the snow higher into the snow dump and pack it in as much as possible.

Parenteau said that during an average winter, they get about 12 million cubic metres of snow; so far they've gotten about 16 million.

He said they usually pick up about 50 to 60% of the snow that falls but that this year, they've picked up about 90% since it's been so cold and it's been sticking around longer.

Parenteau made reassurances that the new snow dumps won't be risks for contamination: the snow will be dumped onto asphalt at the old Blue Bonnets site, the dump in LaSalle is on land that's already contaminated and the melted snow runoff at both sites will be going into sewers and filtration systems.