Q & A

How Anjou cleared its streets of snow before the rest of Montreal

Anjou was the first Montreal borough to have cleared its streets after the city was walloped with its first winter storm of the season. The borough mayor tells us how they did it.

East-end Montreal borough finished cleaning streets on Sunday, Mayor Luis Miranda says

Luis Miranda, mayor of Anjou, says proper equipment and planning go a long way. (Raffy Boudjikanian/CBC)

Anjou was the first Montreal borough to have cleared its streets after the city was walloped with its first winter storm of the season. The borough mayor tells us how they did it.

While the majority of the city was still cleaning up, it only took the east-end borough only a few days to complete snow-removal operations.

We asked Anjou Mayor Luis Miranda how his borough got it done so fast.

Luis Miranda has been the mayor of Anjou since 1997. (Radio-Canada)
Miranda told CBC News that Anjou could have finished the job even sooner if it hadn't been for Montreal's new centralized snow-removal policy, which he says is nothing more than "hot air."

Under the new policy, they have a 12-hour grace period to begin snow removal operations or they will face a fine. It is the first time since 2001 that the city will run snow removal operations instead of the individual boroughs.

When the plan was announced in August, Mayor Denis Coderre said co-ordinating snow clearing operations directly would reduce disparities from borough to borough.

But Miranda says that hasn't happened. Here are some highlights of our conversation.

On how long it took

We finished more or less Sunday night. We were at 75 per cent I think Saturday afternoon, more than 75 per cent.

We have two contracts and 80 per cent of Anjou is done in-house. It is done by my blue-collar workers and it is well done.

On advice for other boroughs

You know when I did my work in 2009, I spent two hours with each borough to see what their problem was and how it was working.

They [the City of Montreal] centralized the snow removal. They took two hours. They met with the 19 boroughs — all boroughs —for two hours. 

I have the files here of each borough of how their snow removal is and how it was and all of that. Ask [Anie] Samson if she's got that. No, they just want to centralize it.

It cannot be centralized — it has to be, 'let's have the proper equipment, let's have the right territories, the right size.' They are mixing up everything. They are saying they'll be done by Wednesday? I don't think that's normal.

On the importance of efficiency

Snow removal is a priority service that we have to give. 

It has be to be something that has to be taken into consideration as an emergency service because emergency services like ambulances, fire, police, even public transit depend on us.

They all depend on us.

On the city's new centralization plan

That is hot air, come on. They delayed me. I would have started 12 hours before then. They delayed me by 12 hours.

The only thing that centralization is doing is saying when we can start. Not how we can do it.

We're still doing the snow removal. They are just saying when we can start, that's a lot of hot air. That's not the real issue.

On having the right equipment

All of our equipment we try to keep up to date. We don't only have new equipment. We have old, efficient equipment. Strong equipment.

You know you have to do some work. You're a contractor and you're going to buy a pickup to carry your material going around. Don't buy a pickup, you need at least a 10-wheeler. You have to have the right equipment and we have always had the right equipment.


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