Toronto council to look at storm clean-up issues

By Don Peat ,City Hall Bureau Chief First posted: | Updated: Sat Feb 16 2013   TORONTO - Get ready for a snowball fight at this week’s city council meeting.The city’s response to the Feb. 8 snowstorm has had a chilly reception from many councillors and become a political hot potato at City Hall but now Councillor Anthony Perruzza is poised to turn the heat up and dump the issue on the floor of council.Perruzza will ask his colleagues to order a review of the city’s current contracts for snow removal.If approved by council, the city’s general manager of transportation services would report to the next public works committee meeting on whether the snow removal in the wake of the snowstorm complied with the contracts.The Ward 8-York West councillor described the storm clean-up in his ward as “shoddy.”“A lot of the streets were partly cleared. A lot of windrows and driveways people were blocked in, the plows never came back,” Perruzza said.“In many cases the streets are still narrowed to basically a lane.”Perruzza said the city needs to look at the performance levels in its snow removal contracts.“If they aren’t high enough then change the contracts,” he said. “If the performance levels are high and the contractors just did a poor job then we need to figure out what penalties need to be imposed under those agreements.”Public works chairman Denzil Minnan-Wong said he’s already asked transportation staff to do a review but Perruzza said that’s not good enough.“By the time Denzil gets a report to the works committee winter will be over, we’ll all be at the beach and this will all be forgotten,” Perruzza said.“My worry is we get another snowstorm next week or a couple weeks down the road and we have exactly the same situation only worse because what you have now is partially blocked roads.”Minnan-Wong stressed a review of the response to the storm is already underway.“I appreciate the councillor’s concern,” he said. “I think generally our winter maintenance department did a good job.”He pointed out the city maintains several hundred kilometres of roads.“There are bound to be some gaps of service in certain spots,” Minnan-Wong said. “I think we need to look at that to understand why that happened.”

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