City spending $5.3 million on rented snowblowers

City spending $5.3 million on rented snowblowers

Montreal is spending $5.3 million to rent 10 extra-powerful snowblowers for the next two months. Here is one of the existing snowblowers at work on Viger Ave. near the Palais des Congres on Sunday January 14, 2018. (Pierre Obendrauf / MONTREAL GAZETTE)

Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

With most of Montreal’s snow dumps already nearly full, the city is spending $5.3 million to rent 10 extra-powerful snowblowers for the next two months.

The city’s executive committee approved the expense Wednesday morning.

The snowblowers, which are able to blow snow higher and farther than regular models, will help the city make use of the temporary Blue Bonnets site and former Miron quarry in St-Michel, said Jean-François Parenteau, the mayor of Verdun and executive committee member responsible for procurement and the environment.

He noted that while Montreal usually only clears between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of all the snow that falls, this year it has cleared 90 per cent.

Last week, the city got permission from the Quebec Environment Department to dump snow at the former Blue Bonnets site on Décarie Blvd. and the Solutia site in LaSalle, next to the Angrignon snow dump.

The rented snowblowers will be used at Blue Bonnets and St-Michel, but could be moved to other sites if the need arises, according to city documents signed by Alain Dufort, director of the downtown Ville-Marie borough.

As of Monday, 193 centimetres of snow had already fallen in Montreal between November and mid-February, according to Environment Canada. And Montreal’s current tally is only 15 cm short of the 208 cm the city normally gets in an entire snow season (November to April).

In an average winter, the city has to remove 12 million cubic metres of snow, but by Monday, it had already removed 16 million cubic metres.

Two of the city’s 11 snow dumps, on Highway 13 and 46th Ave. in Lachine, are closed because they’re full to capacity, the document says.

Three more are 95-per-cent full and another three are more than 85-per-cent full, it reports.

With heavy snowfall already straining the city’s capacity last month, it issued a call for tenders for the extra snowblowers on Jan. 24.

It awarded five two-months contracts, covering hourly fees for the snowblowers as well as for operators to run them, to Groupe Contant Inc., four to Groupe IMOG Inc. and one to Environnement Routier NRJ Inc.



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