Snow piled high in the city means tough going for people using wheelchairs, walkers

If you've been having trouble getting around because of the snow, think about people with disabilities who either struggle through it or stay trapped in their homes.

Laurent Morrissette is confined to a wheelchair and this week's storm and buildup of snow made it even more difficult to get around Rosemont-Petite Patrie than usual, for instance just going to the bank recently.

He got stuck just 500 metres out of his house.

"It took me ninety minutes instead of taking me 30 minutes and I was using the bike path because some of the sidewalks were not cleared properly," Morrissette told CJAD 800 News.

"That's frustrating."

The spokesman for the disabled people's rights group, RAPLIQ said it's just one more obstacle when they already face so many.

Patricia Brown's 23-year-old son, Charles-Éric Brown-Laroche has cancer and epilepsy and needs a walker and wheelchair to get around outside. 

Brown said this week was a challenge especially going to the hospital with her son since the public buses were rerouted because of the snow. 

"It is for him, it is for a child under five years, even six because it's physical. The minute you walk in there, it's physical, it's unstable, it's narrow, it's slippery, it's unsteady, it's crooked. There's no straight walking which you need because the wheelchair has wheels and the walker has wheels," said Brown in an interview with CJAD 800 News.

"Everytime it's not straight, you have to carry your walker. I'd rather carry a walker than a wheelchair."

Brown would like to see bus routes near her Pointe St. Charles home plowed first so public transport is more readily available in an area where so many people depend on it.

Brown said she hopes the new snow removal contractor in the borough gets it right next winter. The city of Montreal announced yesterday it would be cancelling the five-year contract with snow removal company Pavages d'Amour because it was not able to handle the job and do it properly.

"We have human beings here that can't be stuck in their houses because somebody doesn't want to do their or can't provide for their work," said Brown.