Montreal

Snowblowers aren't just for snow. They are also 'de facto pumps' used to fight the flood

Snowblowers aren't just for snow removal, apparently. In Île-Bizard, they are being used as makeshift pumps to blast out water seeping onto the island.

Île-Bizard gets creative with its fight against the flood, with a little help from Saint-Laurent

Snow blowers are being used in Île-Bizard to blast floodwater into Rivière des Prairies. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Snowblowers aren't just for snow, apparently. In Île-Bizard, they are being used as makeshift pumps to blast out flood water seeping onto the island.

The machines used in Île-Bizard to blast floodwater into Rivière des Prairies come from the borough of Saint-Laurent.

"Even though Saint-Laurent is landlocked, we are trying to help our neighbours," said Mayor Alan DeSousa.

The borough has supplied equipment and workers to flood-prone areas since April 18, when waters first began to rise.

On that first day, Saint-Laurent sent a truck, a forklift and two employees to Ahuntsic-Cartierville to help move pallets of sandbags.

As the waters rose, the borough's contributions grew and the tasks evolved. On April 22, DeSousa said, they sent out 21 trucks and heavy equipment, and 24 workers — mostly blue collar staff, with a couple of foremen.

That was the first day they sent snowblowers, four of them, which act as "de facto pumps," DeSousa said.

Watch how it works:

It may be unconventional, but it's making an impact: snowblowers are helping keep homes dry on Île-Bizard. 0:17

A consequence of the inter-borough helping hand initiatives is that some planned work within Saint-Laurent is getting held up, DeSousa said.

"If our staff is out there helping people in dire need, stuff like spring cleaning takes a little bit of a backseat."

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