Spring Cleaning in VSP

    Spring Cleaning in VSP

    The website announcement and the Park-Ex complaints

    The official announcement from VSP

     According to the borough’s website announcement, VSP’s teams are diligently continuing their extensive spring cleaning operations, actively working to pick up litter, sweep, and wash the 283 km of streets and 378 km of sidewalks in the borough. For several weeks, teams have been collecting the abundant waste accumulated over the winter.

    The implementation of parking restrictions on April 1st has allowed teams to use street sweepers and water trucks (weather permitting) for a thorough cleaning. In total, it will take about five to six weeks to complete the cleaning of all streets and sidewalks in the area, though operations may be interrupted if weather conditions require it.

    Over time, various changes have transformed the area, such as changes in traffic flow, addition of calming measures, and street reconfigurations. Therefore, it was necessary to revise the cleaning routes to adapt to these new realities, which have affected the parking restriction schedules. Despite the teams’ best efforts, always according to the borough, to plan the mechanical sweeper routes efficiently, factors such as equipment breakdowns, adverse weather, or non-compliance with new parking restriction signs can impact the speed or execution of street maintenance.

    The cleaning operations follow a predefined intervention order: cleaning of main thoroughfares first, followed by local streets, medians, concrete islands, viaducts, and alleys. Teams use vacuum sweepers, mechanical sweepers, water trucks with bionic arms, and sidewalk washers to remove gravel, stones, and waste that have accumulated on the roads and sidewalks during the winter. The borough has a team of about sixty people working in shifts seven days a week to complete this massive cleaning operation.

    The numerous parks in the borough are also being prepared for the warmer days ahead. Trails, play areas, and water features are cleaned and swept, and the sports fields are lined. Swings are installed, and the condition of park pavilions is checked. Park restrooms will open in mid-May. On the streets, teams are cleaning medians, grassy areas, flower beds, and refurbishing tree basins. Urban furniture (benches, public trash cans, etc.) is also being restored. Due to higher street traffic during the summer, the number of street trash cans is increased, and their collection frequency is also boosted. Additional bike racks are installed to encourage active transportation.

    Graffiti on walls within the borough will be cleaned during a spring blitz starting May 15. Graffiti removal operations run from May to November, except for hateful graffiti, which is removed as quickly as possible.

    Mary Deros speaks to Park-Ex News

    While the official VSP communication highlights a diligent and comprehensive cleaning effort, the reality on the ground, according to City Councillor Mary Deros and many residents, paints a different picture. Mary Deros and numerous citizens have voiced concerns that the extensive spring cleaning described on paper does not translate into actual work in the borough. For example, the owner of Café St-Roch reported not seeing a city broom for weeks. Taking matters into his own hands, he cleaned the street himself on the south side of St-Roch from Bloomfield to Champagneur just before Orthodox Easter. Other residents have filed complaints with 311 about street sweepers that never passed their streets, indicating a gap between the planned operations and their execution.

    At a recent borough council meeting, Deros raised these issues and received a response indicating that many brooms were out of commission for repairs, leading to reduced cleaning activities. This admission underscores the challenges the borough faces in maintaining its cleaning schedule and the impact of equipment downtime on service delivery. The discrepancy between the borough’s official statements and residents’ experiences has led to frustration among community members. Despite the outlined plans and new sweeper routes, the visible cleanliness of the borough remains a concern for many.