Halifax’s municipal government has withheld payment from five contractors responsible for sidewalk and street clearing this year.

“We’re paying them for a particular service,” says Jennifer Stairs with HRM. “We’re holding them accountable for that.”

The city’s main complaint has been with the sidewalks.

“Supervisors go out and walk the routes, drive the routes to see what the conditions are like,” adds Stairs. “If they’re not happy with the work that’s being done, we have options.”

Last year two contractors were fired, so far that hasn’t happened this year.

Still, the city says expectations need to be reasonable.

“Obviously there are extenuating circumstances sometimes, whether that’s blizzard like conditions or a rapid freeze after rain that would complicate clearing for any crews.”