© Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
The City of Corner Brook thinks it has enough sand and salt to last this already tough winter, but council is asking for an assessment of the stockpiles.
CORNER BROOK Mayor Charles Pender says the City of Corner Brook has plenty of sand and salt.
Even so, council has asked staff for an assesment of the materials, which are a critical part of snow-clearing operations.
In the past several days, sources have been telling The Western Star that the amount of sand available at the municipal depot in Corner Brook is getting low. Those sources have also raised concerns about the quality of the salt stockpiled at the depot.
Since the city no longer has a salt shed, the salt pile has been exposed to the elements. The concern is that rain may have washed away the effectiveness of the salt.
The exposed salt and sand, added the sources, has also become clumpy and hard to handle for the workers charged with getting those products spread on the city‚Äôs roads.
‚ÄúI do suspect we have been using more than normal because of the weather, but I am told we have sufficient amounts,‚ÄĚ Pender said of the quantity of sand and salt at the depot.
Council will be meeting Monday and have asked for a review of how much sand and salt was ordered for this winter, how much has been used, how much remains and its quality.
‚ÄúIf we need to get more, we will have to get more,‚ÄĚ said Pender.
As for the quality of the sand, Pender said council has heard the same concerns, but it has also heard from its own sources that the effectiveness of the salt has not been diminished from exposure to the elements.
‚ÄúI dont know the answer and it seems every individual we talk to gives us a different answer,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúAll I know is, we put the salt on the road and the ice melts as long at is within the normal operating temperatures.‚ÄĚ
The city used to have a salt shed, but it was condemned under Pender‚Äôs previous term as mayor because its structural integrity had been compromised. His former administration had made plans for a new city depot that would have included a new salt shed.
‚ÄúI was somewhat dismayed to come back as mayor to find out that, one, we obviously don‚Äôt have the depot built and there was nothing in the works for a salt shed,‚ÄĚ said Pender. ‚ÄúWe are working on those plans for next year, provided we get funding for it through capital works, that we can get our salt shed on the new depot site at least.‚ÄĚ
The issue of salt and sand stocks and how they are managed will also be part of the city‚Äôs upcoming operational review announced in the 2014 budget.
‚ÄúThis is not something we are going to snap our fingers and change tomorrow,‚ÄĚ said Pender, adding the city will continue to do its best with the resources it has.