Winter Maintenance For Roads

May 24, 2024 | Budget, Policies, Masterplans | 2 comments

On May 27 Council agenda there is a staff report recommending that the Township’s winter maintenance level of service should be modernized to a more efficient and environmentally friendly use of material winter materials. In addition it asks for direction to study and assess the requirements for implementation of the new maintenance program. Information provided presents a compelling argument for making the proposed changes but I will be asking for more information about the environmental consequences of the proposal to change to a 100% use of a treated salt on our urban roads. I also need to understand better the forecasted full cost; the report suggests that total maintenance cost (which includes sweeping costs, catch basin cleaning, fuel) will be manageable in the budget.

I applaud the effort by staff to do a complete supply chain analysis of keeping our roads safe during the winter months. (I say “complete” but I acknowledge that it doesn’t address costs and impact of all that is done to deliver the materials too are work site.)  In the 2024 budget we were told that to address complaints about use of sand in the 3 villages there was an alternative to switch to straight salt (vs the current 50/50 sand/salt) but it was not recommended as it would cost an additional $389,000. (see page 170 of 2024 budget book)  In the interim i.e. since budget approval Staff have been researching alternatives and looking at the total chain of activities.

I also need to understand better the comments in the report that the current work site may not be adequte for implementing the recommended solution for winter maintenance. But indeed if that is correct the cost of a new work site does need to be assessed.

As always you can participate in the Council and make a deputation on this motion  in person or virtually.  For details on how to do please see Council agenda. Or you can send an email to by Monday noon with your comments, questions.


  1. Norm Elmhirst

    I think that the idea of switching to higher salt concentrations to reduce cleanup costs of sand removal makes sense. I would caution Council that the savings of using the proprietary Thawrox product over that of common rock salt may not be realized. The company that produces it is Compass Minerals International Inc (CMP on the NYSE). It currently has several class action lawsuits against it in the USA that arose from overstating to the US Forestry Service the efficiencies of a product they manufacture. It is a different product than the Thawrox but perhaps the marketing claims for their products should be taken with a grain of salt ….so to speak.

    • Debbie

      Thank you Norm for your comments. I will be sharing your info with Staff. We do have the benefit of experience of other municipalities and are not making the changes soley based on promotional claims. Debbie


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