The sheer volume of snow that fell on Ottawa earlier this week — combined with some illegal snow dumping — is making for a slower-than-expected cleanup, says the chairman of the city's transportation committee.
So much snow fell on Dec. 29 that the city's snow removal team has been unable to use blades to clear the sidewalks, said Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli.
Instead, crews are relying on snowblowers, a "slower process," Egli told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Thursday.
"We haven't had this much snow on the 29th of December since 1954," Egli said. "It's a significant amount of snow."
City residents have been taking to social media to voice their displeasure with the drawn-out cleanup after Tuesday's storm, which saw high winds and 26 centimetres of snow fall on downtown Ottawa.
Earlier Thursday, one of Egli's colleagues around the council table, Kitchisippi Coun. Jeff Leiper, walked around his ward and tweeted a series of shots of nearly-impassable roads and sidewalks.
Churchill/Richmond. pic.twitter.com/csYoPlfhq9— @JLeiper
McRae walking to Westboro station. pic.twitter.com/NjyhwMFbMe— @JLeiper
Byron at Churchill. Forget which side sidewalk is on. pic.twitter.com/5RW4BVLo63— @JLeiper
Leiper wasn't the only one who was displeased with the cleanup, however.
Ottawa Morning received a number of complaints from listeners after asking how the city was doing with the cleanup.
Are you satisfied w/ city's performance clearing roads & sidewalks? Monika Maliszewska is not, sent us this pic.twitter.com/s8OyHvkAwQ— @OttawaMorning
@OttawaMorning when for 11km run yesterday. Less than 50% of pathways and sidewalks plowed. Not a plow in sight. No sign of effort. Grade: F— @JamieWine
In addition to the simple volume of snow, the cleanup efforts are being hampered, said Egli, by the fact there have been reports of homeowners and private contractors illegally dumping snow onto public sidewalks.
Egli urged anyone who spotted people pitching their snow onto the sidewalk to call 311 — but he added enforcing the bylaw isn't always easy.
"These are bylaw offences [but] the difficulty with any offence is you have to catch the people in the act," Egli said.
Nearly 1,000 storm-related calls
The City of Ottawa said it received 999 calls on Tuesday because of the inclement weather, with the most common complaint being about unplowed roads and thoroughfares
Fifty-three complaints Tuesday were related to illegal snow dumping, the city said.
City officials were unable to provide data for Wednesday or Thursday.