FAQ

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Snow removal operations are reviewed annually and at several times during the winter to ensure that we can provide for the needs of our residents, whether these needs are minor or major. Our employees are dedicated and work hard every year. In addition, we work closely with neighbouring cities and boroughs to provide the best possible service to our residents. We are constantly looking for new ways to provide them with the best service.

The frequently asked questions below are the asked most often during our snow removal operations.

The City’s snow plan is designed to gradually clear all streets. As one can easily imagine, not all streets can be tackled at the same time due to the limited number of snow removal equipment available to us. In practice, priorities must be set to clear the streets efficiently and allow smooth traffic flow.

The main arteries are the first cleared and then the secondary arteries and collector streets, as well as the sidewalks, pathways, and bus stops that are located there. Residential streets and parking lots of municipal facilities (as well as their sidewalks, pathways and bus stops) will follow.

Generally, the City can complete street clearance operations:

  • For an accumulation of 15 cm or less of snow: about 4 hours;
  • For an accumulation of 15 cm or more of snow: about 8 hours.

The City does not collect this snow because it would require additional equipment and human resources, which are extremely expensive. In order to provide this service, taxpayers would have to pay a substantial premium in addition to their current tax bill.

The City met with private snow removal contractors in the fall of 2019 to present the tools available for effective coordination of snow removal operations. Starting this winter, the City will be e-mailing contractors authorized to perform snow removal to announce the start time of snow removal operations throughout the City.

If you have a contractor authorized to clear your driveway, alley or parking lot, both residential and commercial, they should have received the City’s snow removal schedules by email. If not, ask them to contact the City. Armed with this knowledge, your contractor will be able to respect the City’s schedule and avoid situations such as this one.

The City is divided into 13 snow clearing sectors with arteries and collector streets given priority over residential streets. A piece of snow clearing equipment is assigned to each of these sectors with the goal of providing a clearing pass on each street every 4 hours during snowfall.

When the snowfall starts and ends greatly affects the timing of passes on our residential streets. As an example, snowplough passes will be prioritized in the early afternoon before the evening rush hour but there may be a rest period for our drivers in the 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. period when there is much less traffic on the roads. If it is snowing hard, there will undoubtedly be a certain accumulation of snow before our pre-morning rush hour ploughing begins at about 4 a.m. This is unavoidable as we must respect new provincial laws requiring prescribed rest periods for our plough drivers.

Of course, aside from mandatory rest periods for our employees, all sorts of things can go wrong and any number of things can impede our progress in ploughing our streets. This includes road accidents, machinery breakdowns or even cars parked on the street impeding the ploughs ability to pass, so please be patient, we are on the job and will be on your street as soon as possible.

It may be that vehicles were parked on the street, preventing the snowplow from passing with the blade on the ground. For more information, visit the Your Collaboration section.

During and after a snowstorm, our snow clearing crews are out in full force clearing all city streets and eventually they will reach your street. The City’s Public Works Department is coordinating staff and more than 25 pieces of snow equipment to clear the city’s almost 300 km of streets. As this is their first priority, calling Public Works during a snowfall or immediately after a storm to find out why your street has not yet been cleared will not result in faster snow clearing service on your street.

Please understand, and this is especially true for storms that have had a particularly strong wind component, that it may take up to 24 hours after the end of a storm to clear and treat both the roads and sidewalks. Exceptionally heavy snowfalls of over 25 cm (10 inches) or back-to-back storms can extend this cleanup period to up to 48 hours after the end of a storm.

Nonetheless, if you have an emergency and must be able to immediately leave your home, please call Dollard-des-Ormeaux Municipal Patrol any time of the day at 514-684-6111.

Any object in the public domain (trees, plants, grass, driveway curbs, etc.) that has been damaged by City equipment during the winter will be repaired in the spring. Please call 514-684-1010 or email us at ville@ddo.qc.ca to report damage as soon as it is visible. They will be subject to an on-site assessment in the spring.

In total, the City clears over 600 lane-kilometres (372 lane-miles) of roads and 80 kilometres (48 miles) of sidewalks.

We do all in our power to ensure all our citizens benefit from the same level of service, regardless of their tax bill.

There are a number of things that all residents are asked to do:

  • Ensure that you are prepared if you know that there is a major snowfall forecasted.
  • Remove parked cars from the street prior to and during ploughing or clearing operations even if you have a driveway contractor. If you have a driveway contractor and you can, we ask that you put your car in your garage.
  • Your contractor will come by again after the snowfall ends. Owners of vehicles not removed from city streets during ploughing operations risk receiving a parking fine and/or having their car towed. Please remember, City snow clearing crews are ensuring access for emergency response teams and they by law have priority over all other snow operations.
  • Help others, especially seniors and disabled persons, to clear their driveways and walkways. Also, assistance with shopping may be appreciated since many elderly or disabled persons find it treacherous to walk to the store or bus stop because of snow and ice.
  • Do not place snow on the roadways and please take the time to advise your driveway snow contractor to not do so as well. Especially important is to not place any snow as to bury any fire hydrants. Hydrants are essential Civil Security infrastructure and must be accessible at all times.
  • Burying a fire hydrant or placing snow in the street or on a neighbour’s property could lead to a fine under City’s snow by-law which prohibits the placement of snow from private property onto the public right-of-way. Instead, place it on your property.
    Keep children safe –
  • don’t let them play in the snow along the side of the road or anywhere where a snowplough is likely to operate.

At all times, salt is used on main and secondary arteries and collector streets, while abrasives (a mixture of 0-5 mm stone and salt) are used in residential areas, when necessary, to ensure better traction for vehicles. Note that below -15ºC, salt is no longer effective, so only abrasives are used on large arteries.

To ease environmental concerns, for the past 10 years, our salt trucks have been equipped with electronic spreading systems to ensure that the right amount of salt is deposited on the road. We are constantly testing new products to improve service and respect the environment.

Canada Post is responsible for clearing the path to the mailbox. For more information or to report a buried mailbox, you can contact Canada Post at 514-684-4055.

Our preparations for the winter season begin in early August. We then carry out complete inspections and repair the equipment that was used during the previous winter. This equipment includes snow plows, snow blowers, tracked snow plows for sidewalks and spreaders. In November, we provide refresher training to our employees to familiarize them with the new machinery and any changes to our routes and activities. In addition, we conduct rehearsals during which trucks equipped with a snowplow travel the snow removal routes.

As our climate has become more temperate in the last ten years, so has the frequency and quantity of rain and freezing rain we receive in mid-winter. Needless to say, this has caused headaches not only for Public Works Departments across the northeastern part of the continent but also for our residents!

Following these mid-winter rainstorms, the temperature invariably returns to seasonal levels and we are faced with a layer of rock-hard ice securely attached to the road surface of our residential streets. Unfortunately, no economical mechanical means of removal exists to remove the ice until a mid-winter thaw period when our heavy duty ice removal ploughs are put into service to scrape the now softened ice off of the streets. Unfortunately, these thaws often only last but a few hours, greatly reducing our ability to blitz our operations and undertake street de-icing operations that cover the whole city.

Please rest assured that we keep constant tabs on the conditions of our streets and the weather forecast so we can be ready at a moment’s notice, as soon as there is a window of opportunity, to be in motion to de-ice in your neighbourhood.

In the meantime, we will apply salt and abrasive on these streets to render them as passable and safe as possible.

Depending on the amount of snow received, street widening can be done up to twice during the winter. They might be interrupted at any time if there is a snowfall.

Dollard-des-Ormeaux, being a suburban municipality, does not really have much in common with a large urban centre like Montreal. For one thing, we are not faced with the 24 hours a day parking situation that Montreal has on the majority of its streets. As a result, approximately 90% of our residential streets do not require the snow blowing and transport of snow off of every street after every snowfall. This has a major impact on our ability to plough streets quickly and allows us to do street widening at a less frantic pace in the period between snowfalls afterwards.

With the City’s current comprehensive snow plan, the possibility of a street being missed is unlikely. What is more likely is that a machine broke down, which has put a sector behind schedule and that we are in the process of catching up. Let us know if your street is not cleared after 48 hours.

The City’s fleet consists of a wide range of vehicles: 10-wheel and 6-wheel dump trucks equipped with a snowplow, salt spreaders, sidewalk snowplows, and 10-foot wide, 300 horsepower blowers. In all, there are nearly 100 pieces of equipment for snow removal activities.

During the snowfall, bus stops are included in our snow plan and are cleared in order to maintain their safe use for our citizens. As you can imagine, windblown snow affects these operations especially at those bus stops where there is a shelter. However, as with our streets, the final snow clearing of the bus stops can only really be carried out once the snow stops falling.

Streets are prioritized with respect to their vocation, which is mainly related to the amount of traffic on a particular thoroughfare. Also, parts of the evaluation process are budgetary and environmental considerations with respect to the use of chemical melting agents.

For the sake of sound management of public funds and in order not to increase the tax burden on our citizens, the additional hiring of employees is not considered. Instead, we opt to optimize our resources according to weather conditions.

As with all cities in Quebec, snow removal employees are subject to provincial legislation that requires a mandatory rest period. Our employees may not work more than 13 consecutive hours, followed by 11 hours of rest. Employees of snow removal contractors are also subject to this law.

By-laws

This information sheet has no legal authority. The official texts from the by-laws take precedence.

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