Montreal digs out again as snow clearing costs pile up

If you feel like Montreal has been perpetually digging out from more than our usual share of snow dumps this year, you're not wrong.

City already $20M over winter snow removal budget

Typically, Montreal has about five snow clearing events a season. We're already at seven for 2017-2018. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

If you feel like Montreal has been perpetually digging out from more than our usual share of snow dumps this year, you're not wrong. 

On Thursday, the city launched its seventh snow clearing operation of the season to clean up the mess left behind from storm earlier this week. By Friday morning, 23 per cent of the city had been cleared. 

Already, 235 centimetres of snow has fallen since the start of winter. The average per season is typically around 190 centimetres. 

Slow melt

Jean-François Parenteau, the executive committee member in charge of citizen services, said the city has already gone $20 million over its $160 million snow clearing budget for this year. 

Part of the problem has been the bitter cold, which has meant less of the snow has melted on its own and needed to be carted away. 

The city has removed 16 million cubic metres of snow this year. The average volume of snow taken to the city's 28 disposal sites per year is 12 million cubic metres, or 300,000 truckloads.

The mountain of snow at the Thiemens snow depot in the Saint-Laurent borough in February. (City of Montreal)

Meltwater from disposal sites is recovered and treated according to environmental standards. The executive commission had to ask the province for permission to temporarily use two additional sites next to the old Hippodrome and another site adjacent to the snow depot in LaSalle to dump it all. 

Mayor Valérie Plante's administration took heat for its sluggish response to clearing earlier this year when it waited for a thaw that never came and instead left the city covered in a snowy, icy mess. 

The city has since reviewed its snow clearing procedures. 

To stay up to date on that latest snow clearing operation, the city is advising people to download the free Info-Neige app or consult the city's snow-removal website.

with files from Radio-Canada