Roads depart­ment steers clear of salt short­age jam

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News

BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON

Staff The United Coun­ties of SD&G man­aged to avoid a road salt short­age that plagued a num­ber of other On­tario mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties this win­ter.

“It’s not af­fect­ing us be­cause we are a big buyer, like a pre­ferred cus­tomer,” says Ben de Haan, Di­rec­tor of Trans­porta­tion for the Coun­ties.

He says that the Coun­ties pur­chases about 24,000 tonnes of salt in a typ­i­cal year and that next year, it’s on track to pay about $3 mil­lion for salt.

“We’re not in any dan­ger of run­ning out of salt but we will be very low at the end of the sea­son. Our staff is keep­ing an eye on the salt lev­els.”

He adds that be­cause of the short­age, the Coun­ties sup­plier, the Mis­sis­sauga-based Com­pass Min­er­als, has placed lim­its on how much they will re­stock.

“If we asked for a thou­sand tonnes, they would give us 500 tonnes,” he says. “They are try­ing to share around.”

Mr. de Haan says the Coun­ties are in bet­ter shape than a lot of other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties be­cause it can store a year’s worth of salt in the four domes through­out its ter­ri­tory. Plenty of that salt was used thanks to the high snow­fall, freez­ing rain, and in­tense storms that have bat­tered the re­gion re­cently.

Out west, the low salt sup­ply has so af­fected cities like Kitch­ener, Cam­bridge and Water­loo that they have used sand on back roads so that their dwin­dling salt sup­ply could be used on higher pri­or­ity routes.

Ryan Mor­ton, Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Works for North Glen­garry, says that things aren’t too bad for him ei­ther be­cause he goes in with the coun­ties and the City of Corn­wall when it comes to salt pur­chas­ing.

“We cover our­selves for this kind of thing,” he says. “I think the short­age is af­fect­ing the gro­cery stores and re­tail­ers of salt than it is the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.”

It’s re­ally hurt Mike Viau, op­er­a­tor of Viau In­ter­lock­ing and Land­scap­ing in Lan­caster, who says that the price of salt has gone up by 50 per cent. That’s prob­lem­atic for him be­cause many of his con­tracts have fixed prices, mean­ing he can’t raise his rates to cover the ex­tra ex­penses. To make things worse, salt sup­pli­ers told him that they wouldn’t sell any more salt to con­trac­tors as they had to save it for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and high­way work­ers.

The short­age has been caused by last year’s harsh win­ter, a strike at the Goderich salt mine and flood­ing at Amer­i­can mines near Cleve­land.

LET DOWN: The Save The Na­tion move­ment thought it had won its fight against a wind farm when the Ford gov­ern­ment was elected. But the prov­ince has is­sued a gen­er­at­ing per­mit to the in­stal­la­tion ear­marked for land in The Na­tion and Cham­plain Town­ships.

COM­FORT­ING AP­PLI­CA­TION: While we are al­ways ad­vised about cut­ting back on our salt in­take, road salt is def­i­nitely wel­comed when one is nav­i­gat­ing an icy road at night.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.