'In Saint-Henri, you're stuck at home': Snow-filled Southwest poses challenge for wheelchair users

Alexandre Cherton, a Saint-Henri resident who uses a wheelchair to get around, says the poor snow-removal services in his neighbourhood make it hard to leave the house.

City of Montreal moves to cancel contract with company in charge of borough's snow removal

Alexandre Cherton says it's been a struggle getting around Saint-Henri since the snowstorm that began last Sunday. (Alexandre Letendre/CBC)

These days, even getting to the doctor's office is an ordeal for Alexandre Cherton.

The Saint-Henri resident, who was born with spina bifida, had to ask his mother for a lift after both the STM adapted transit service and a taxi said there was too much snow outside his apartment building to fully lower a wheelchair ramp for him.

"For the last week or two, it's almost impossible to go even to the corner of the street,"  Cherton told CBC.

"It's just unbelievable that it's not possible for every citizen to go around their own neighbourhood."

Montreal's Southwest borough, which includes the Saint-Henri district, lags far behind the rest of the city when it comes to clearing roads and sidewalks following this week's major snow dump.

On Thursday, the city said it intends to cancel a contract with Pavages d'Amour, the company in charge of removing snow in the Southwest.

Accessible for everyone?

Only 24 per cent of the Southwest had been cleared by late afternoon on Thursday, according to the city's Info-Neige website — far less than elsewhere in the city. 

The Southwest borough has lagged behind other boroughs when it comes to snow removal. (Alexandre Letendre/CBC)

Cherton said the sidewalks in his neighbourhood have never been so clogged. 

He said it's understandable that it takes a day or two to clear — but at some point the sidewalks should be accessible to everyone. 

"I went to Côte Saint-Luc and downtown, and the sidewalks are clear, and it's very easy to go everywhere you want," he said.

"But when you're here in Saint-Henri, you're stuck at home."

with files from Lauren McCallum