Southwest borough uses special powers to clear snow following contractor fiasco

After issues with a subcontractor spiralled out of control the last time snow needed to be cleared, the Southwest borough is employing special powers to help remove this week's massive dumping of snow.

"Several streets and sidewalks in the Southwest continue to be difficult to access and unsafe. That is why, after discussions with my team and in agreement with the members of the borough council, I decided to exercise my emergency powers to put in place exceptional measures," borough mayor Benoit Dorais said in a statement on Thursday.

The borough has been allowed to hire other contractors and get added help from blue collar workers, according to a news release, in response to complaints over the job done by the borough's current subcontractor, Les Pavages D’Amour Inc.

The city cancelled its contract for the upcoming year with the Les Pavages D’Amour in February, after snow removal in the borough lagged behind the rest of the city during a major snowfall.

The subcontractor also made headlines and irked locals after recorded video showed one of its snowploughs ramming into a bicycle.

Other incidents included a snowplough puncturing a gas line, forcing residents from their homes, and one occasion where garbage was sprayed along the street as a plough cleared a sidewalk in the borough.

Despite the exceptional measures, the borough still lags behind others cleaning up following the big blizzard this week.

As of 5:30 a.m. on Friday, only 10 per cent of streets in the Southwest had been cleared—good for last place among boroughs in the city—compared to 23 per cent for the city as a whole.