By Lawrence Belanger
Local Journalism Initiative
During the winter, more than 300,000 residents rely on dozens of municipal infrastructure and public works agencies across the Eastern Townships to keep surfaces clear of ice and snow. Given its ubiquity, snow removal is one of those services that people only pay attention to when it inconveniences or impacts them. Claude Charron, president of the Borough of Lennoxville, says that when many people come to him with snow issues, they simply don’t know the methods behind snow removal, or how to address a complaint and where to send it.
“A lot of citizens have questions,” says Charron, “and there’s a way to talk to the city,” he explains. A lot of the complaints that he hears from citizens involve the timely removal of snow from their sidewalks or street, and not understanding how municipalities prioritize where they plow.
Charron details those priorities: “safety and major roads.” Schools and hospitals are a higher priority as disruption of those services can have negative or even dangerous consequences. Likewise, the sidewalks used by youth, the elderly or sick, and other vulnerable groups across the city need to be cleared of ice and safe to use before those in individual neighbourhoods. Since municipalities want to minimize the disruption to daily life for larger groups of people at once, a major artery is going to be plowed first and more often than a side street.