Snow removal

General principles

The City of Dollard-des-Ormeaux has enacted a bylaw concerning snow removal, which regulates the clearing, loading and piling of snow, as well as the application of salt and abrasives.

Snow removal operations provided by the city

Snowclearing

  • For less than 5 cm of snow accumulation, boulevards, main arteries and sidewalks are cleared and road salt is applied.
  • For more than 5 cm of snow accumulation, all streets are cleared. Priority is given to boulevards, main arteries and sidewalks.
  • The interval for a complete snow clearance pass is approximately four hours. Snow removal will continue until the storm ends.

In order to facilitate the removal of snow, the City is authorized to order the installation of signs prohibiting the parking of any vehicle until operations have ended.

During snow removal operations, a duly authorized municipal employee is empowered to have a motor vehicle towed and, in certain cases, to divert traffic.

Loading – Snowblowing

  • Following a snowfall of more than 10 cm, snow accumulated in the right lane of boulevards is carried away by a contractor within 48 to 72 hours.
  • Simultaneously, snow pushed to the edge of sidewalks by a snowplow is blown onto the public right-of-way and, if necessary, in front of a circular driveway that is not facing a garage or main entrance.
  • Sides opposite the sidewalks are then cleared, and secondary streets are widened by snowblowers, as necessary.

Salt and abrasives application

  • Road salt is used to melt ice on boulevards and main arteries. An abrasive consisting of 5 mm “pea” stone is used on secondary streets. Road salt is also spread at stop signs and curves on residential streets.
  • As soon as the weather warms up, salt is spread on secondary streets to avoid ice accumulation. If there is already a certain amount of ice build-up, however, appropriate equipment is used to scrape the streets instead of applying salt, which can make the road surface bumpy and less safe.

Obligations applicable to all

  • During snow removal operations, snow must be blown or lifted and deposited on both sides of a parking entrance, on the front or side yard of the property.
  • Any owner who hires a snow removal contractor to clear his parking entrance must ensure that the contractor holds a valid permit for the current year, duly issued by the City.

Whosoever violates this bylaw is liable to a $50 fine.

Prohibitions applicable to all

It is forbidden for anyone to:

  • Transport, push or tolerate that snow originating from a parking area be transported or pushed onto a public road
  • Pile up or tolerate that snow or ice be piled up on private or public property in such a way as to obstruct the visibility of drivers
  • Pile up or tolerate that snow and ice be piled up on private or public property at a height exceeding 3 metres
  • Transport, push or tolerate that snow be transported or pushed within a radius of one metre from a fire hydrant
  • Deposit or leave on public property any object that may hinder the City’s snow removal operations
  • Throw, push, blow or allow snow or ice to be thrown, pushed or blown onto any public property

Whosoever violates these prohibitions may be required to remove the accumulated snow or ice within 24 hours. If the offender fails to comply with the written notice, the City may proceed with the removal of the ice and snow and claim for expenses incurred.

Snow removal contractors

Definition: Any person who carries out, by means of a motorized vehicle, clearing and snow removal for the owner, occupant or person in charge of a private property of a residential, commercial, industrial or institutional nature.

  • Any snow removal contractor must, before carrying out work within the territory of the City, first obtain a permit from the Urban Planning and Engineering Department of the City upon payment of $50 for each motor vehicle to be used. The said permit is valid from November 1 to October 31 and is non transferable.
  • The snow removal contractor must complete a request containing the following information:
    • The surname, given name, address and telephone number of the owner of any motor vehicle to be used by the snow removal contractor in the territory of the City
    • The trademark, model, year, serial number and copy of the registration certificate for any motor vehicle to be used by the snow removal contractor in the territory of the City
    • A copy of the declaration of registration in the register of sole proprietorships, partnerships and legal persons of the snow removal contractor
    • If the snow removal contractor is a legal person, the address of its head office and a copy of the incorporation documents of the said legal person
  • Any snow removal contractor must place posts on each side of a location where snow removal is to be carried out. These posts must indicate, in a clear and legible manner, the City permit number or the name and telephone number of the snow removal contractor and must be visible at all times.

Damage caused to a property during snow removal

When a complaint is received, a sector foreman will visit the site to assess and photograph the damage. Minor repairs will be done by the City in the spring.

For all major repairs, the resident must file a claim with the City within 15 days of the incident. The claim form is available on our website or at our service counters.

FAQs

Why do some streets get ploughed or treated sooner than others?

The City’s snow plan is designed to progressively clear all of the streets in the city. As one can imagine, with a fixed number of snow clearing machines on the road, not all of the streets can be done at the same time. This reality calls for a prioritization plan to efficiently clear our streets of snow and to allow for easy traffic flow.

Dollard-des-Ormeaux’s City Council approved snow plan calls for arterial and collector streets to be cleared of snow first and for residential streets and City buildings’ parking lots to be done afterwards.

Clearing of sidewalks, pathways and bus stops are undertaken concurrently with the above operations.

It should be said however, that should the snowfall be particularly heavy and/or windblown, or if there are back to back snowstorms, all of these operations will take longer than usual. Please be patient, we are on the job and we will be around to your neighbourhood as soon as we can!

Why doesn't the City clear the pile of snow left at the bottom of my driveway after the plough has cleared the street?

The pile of snow at the bottom of the driveway which is left behind after the plough has cleared the street is created due to the snowplough not having a place to push snow except to the curb or shoulder of the road. The City does not clear this snow because in order to do so would require additional equipment and staffing resources which are prohibitively costly. In order to provide this service, tax payers would be asked to pay an appreciable premium on top of their current tax bill.

My snow contractor has cleared my driveway and the City’s plough just came by and filled in my driveway again! Why can’t the City coordinate their operations with my driveway contractor so this does not happen?

With up to 25 city snow clearing ploughs on the road, several dozen private driveway snow clearing contractors’ vehicles, and 12,000 single family dwelling driveways in the City, it is literally impossible to coordinate everyone’s operations.

To be clear, the City’s operations take precedence over all private snow operations as it is the City’s crews who have the responsibility of ensuring emergency response (fire and ambulance services) and accessibility to all residents in the city.

We recommend that you clarify with your driveway clearing contractor at the time of the signing of your contract that he commits to ensuring that your driveway access is cleared after the City’s snow operations are complete.

Why is my street always the last to be done?

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.

The snowplough came by my street but didn't plough. Why not?

One reason may have been that there were cars parked on the road making it impossible for the plough to pass with its snow blade lowered. We ask our residents to remove parked cars from the street prior to and during snowfalls when we will be conducting our ploughing operations so that the equipment can safely clear the road. We encourage residents to call Dollard-des-Ormeaux Municipal Patrol at 514-684-6111 should there be cars parked on your street that impede the work of our snow crews and that will result in a compromise of the quality of the service you receive.

Who can I contact to find out about the status of snow clearing in Dollard-des-Ormeaux?

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.

The snowplough damaged my driveway curb. Will the City pay for the repair?

The City is not responsible for damage to plants, driveway curbs, fences or other items that have been placed within the city’s setback. This setback distance varies from street to street but can be approximately sighted along either fire hydrants or your home front lawn water line valve. The setback for your street can also be gotten by calling or emailing Public Works.

Damage to City-owned trees, sod and pavement will be repaired in the spring. Please call Public Works at 514-684-1034 to report damage as soon as it is visible and it will be evaluated on site in the spring.

How many kilometres of road and sidewalk does the City clear during and after a snow event?

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

Does the service level of snow clearing vary depending on the amount of taxes a neighbourhood pays?

We strive to ensure that everyone throughout the City gets the same level of service regardless of the taxes they pay. Priority arterial and collector roads are cleared first and then residential streets are considered to be lower priority. It must be said that during a snowfall, our priority is to maintain accessibility to all parts of the city for emergency response vehicles. The final cleanup of a snowfall is done once the snow stops falling and this can run to as much as 12 hours after a snowfall if there are snowdrifts caused by windy conditions.

As a resident, what can I do during and after a winter storm?

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.

During snow clearing operations when is salt and sand used?

Salt is used on the priority arterial and collector roads and sand/abrasive pea stone is used on the residential non-priority roads to provide better traction. To address environmental concerns, our salt trucks have for over 10 years now been equipped with electronically controlled spreader systems in order to ensure that we apply just the right amount of road salt. As always, we are continuously testing new more environmentally friendly products to be able to provide for bare pavement after a snowstorm.

Who is responsible for clearing the area around the mailbox?

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.

When does the City start to prepare for the winter season?

Our snow season preparations begin in mid-September with the full inspections and repairs of all snow equipment used the previous season. This equipment includes ploughs, snowblowers, tracked sidewalk ploughs and salt spreader trucks. In October, refresher training is undertaken with our employees to familiarize them with both newly acquired equipment and any changes made to our snow routes and operations. Along with these refresher courses are the running of ‘dry runs’ where the snowplough routes are run with the snowplough equipped trucks.

Why can’t the City remove the ice from my street?

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.

When can I expect my street to be widened by the snowblower?

The widening of streets to the curbs is normally undertaken in mid to late January once we have received 100 cm or so of snow. Up to that time, the snow clearing has been entirely done by snowploughs that only have the capability of pushing the fallen snow to the sides of the streets.

Of course, the start date for these street widening snow blowing operations varies from winter to winter depending on the quantities of snow on the ground. During the winter of 2007-2008 when we received a record 370 cm of snow, street widening operations were undertaken twice, once in December and once in late January.

It must be said however that the same Public Works crews that man our snowploughs also operate our snowblowers. This means that progress of these street widening operations may be interrupted often if there are back-to-back snowfalls and the workforce must temporarily stop snow blowing to go back onto snowploughing operations.

Why does the City's snow clearing operations vary from other municipalities such as Montreal?

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.

What if my street is missed during snow clearing operations?

With the City’s current comprehensive snow plan, the possibility of a street being missed is quite unlikely. What is more likely is that there has been a machine breakdown that has put a sector behind schedule and that we are in the process of catching up.

What type of equipment does the City use to clear roads?

The City’s fleet of vehicles runs the gamut from 10 wheel dump trucks equipped with ploughs and road salt spreaders to tracked sidewalk with ploughs to 300 horsepower 10 foot wide snowblowers. In all this represents almost 100 pieces of snow operations machinery.

What happens with bus stops in terms of snow clearing operations?

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

Why are some streets cleared to bare pavement and not others?

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

As a general rule, much travelled arteries and collectors are kept bare to asphalt with road salt. Residential streets are generally treated with sand and gravel but can, when conditions warrant, have road salt applied as well.

Departments concerned

Municipal Patrol: 514-684-6111
Public Works: 514-684-1034

By-laws

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

BY-LAW CONCERNING SNOW REMOVAL – BY-LAW NO. R-2007-033 (PDF - 68 Kb)

BY-LAW CONCERNING SAFETY AND PARKING – BY-LAW NO. R-2009-053 (PDF - 164 Kb)

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