01/21/2015 10:44 EST | Updated 03/23/2015 05:59 EDT

Montreal ice storm salting, snow removal given poor grade

The city could have done a better job at salting and clearing sidewalks during and following an ice storm on the first weekend of January, says a new auditor report released Wednesday.

The report called out several boroughs for poor response to a storm that turned Montreal streets and sidewalks into a massive skating rink.

The audit covered the period between Jan. 2 and 9.

The boroughs referenced most in the audit are the Southwest, LaSalle, Anjou, Ahuntsic-Cartierville and Montreal North boroughs.

The Southwest borough was the most heavily criticized in the report, on several points including keeping functional equipment in the garage, having broken and inoperable equipment, not clearing sidewalks in a timely manner.

The report also mentions that snow-clearing and salting operations in Plateau-Mont-Royal experienced significant slow-downs due to more than a thousand towing operations and having to repair five water main breaks.

Key recommendations

- The city should establish service norms for all the boroughs.

- Plowing and salting sidewalks is sometimes more urgent than clearing snow, and service should be adjusted accordingly.

- Improving communication to residents about when they could expect to have their neighbourhood’s sidewalks and streets cleared and salted.

- The mixture for sidewalk abrasives should also be reviewed, since some mixtures work better than others depending on the type of precipitation. The audit recommended doing research to find out which abrasives work the best in each possible scenario.

Read the whole report (in French) here.