Saint-Laurent residents upset over icy road, sidewalk conditions

In the borough of Saint-Laurent, deep ruts in the ice on Coughtry Street have residents fed up.

“It’s really deplorable,” said Kevin Callaghan, who lives on the street.

He walks outside with a ruler to measure the depth of one of the grooves, carved into the ice by traffic. Callaghan measures eight inches but thinks it’s deeper.

“When this ice is melted, it’s several inches below where it is now,” he said.

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The street is covered with similar ruts, and neighbours say it’s dangerous — not just for drivers but for pedestrians, too.

“We can’t even walk on the street because the ruts are too deep,” said Shirley Bertrand, who runs a home daycare on the street, not far from Callaghan. Bertrand said residents have trouble using the sidewalks because they, too, are caked in ice.

“I have a two-year-old, I have a three-year-old, I have a nine-month-old in a carriage, and we’re going down on the sidewalk, falling, slipping and sliding,” she said. “You can’t walk around here.”

Because of the ice, some elderly residents are shut in.

“It is deadly to go out, and they wait at home for somebody else to, hopefully, bring them something to eat,” explained Callaghan.

Ice-covered streets and sidewalks have been the story of this winter. Wild fluctuations in temperature have resulted in more ice coverage in the city, with residents paying the price in injuries.

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 20 of this year, Urgences-Santé received 710 calls from people who had fallen outside, an increase of more than 200 calls compared to the same period in 2018.

Coughtry Street neighbours say they understand the weather extremes but that the borough should be able to clean its streets regardless.

However, Alan DeSousa, borough mayor for Saint-Laurent, explains that there’s a reason the city hasn’t cleared Coughtry Street yet. He says workers are clearing snow and de-icing at the same time so it is taking longer to get to all the streets.

Since the last storm, 97 per cent of the snow in Saint-Laurent is now cleared, and authorities expect to get to small streets like Coughtry Street soon, he said.

However, that’s not soon enough for some residents.

“I’ve lived here 35 years,” said Callaghan. “It has never, ever been anywhere this bad, not even during the ice storm. And that was bad!”

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