October 15, 2011
By Bob Hodgins
Smart about Salt executive director

bob hodginsThose who work in the snow and ice business think about it throughout the year. As the 2011-2012 snowfighting season approaches, much is now being done to get ready for a new season. Most of us are looking forward to — well maybe dreading is a better word — closing our pools, putting away the lawn furniture and golf clubs, digging up the gardens, getting winter clothes and equipment out of mothballs and finding our snow tires. But not the winter guys! They are excited about winter.

Good planning and preparation are essential to making the best of the season. Now is the time to bid on contracts, get snow clearing equipment ready, hire and train snow fighter crews and secure a reliable supply of de-icing materials.

With respect to the latter point, it will be interesting to see how the tornado damage to the Sifto Salt plant in Goderich will affect this year’s supplies. The company’s Kansas-based parent said they “fully intend to meet 100 per cent of our highway de-icing salt commitments.” Time will tell (see story below).

Go Transit comes aboard

We at the Smart about Salt (SAS) Council are busy most of the year, but things have been particularly busy in August and September. GO Transit began the first steps to becoming Smart about Salt. Earlier this month the latest contracts for snow and ice control services were tendered. The tender requires bidders to register their intent to become Smart about Salt Certified.

This can be done through our website www.smartaboutsalt.com. The second requirement by GO Transit is for the successful contractors to become Smart about Salt Certified by next spring. The registration process has become pretty active.

Woodstock requires certification

At the same time, the City of Woodstock now requires its contractors to be Smart about Salt certified and to take the SAS training program. The City of Ottawa is also getting Smart about Salt. On September 7, the Transportation Committee of the City of Ottawa approved the following motion:
“That the Transportation Committee recommend to Council that the City of Ottawa continues to illustrate environmental leadership and stewardship by:
  1. working closely with the provincial Smart about Salt Council;
  2. adopting staff training programs to encourage smart salt practices for city parking lots and public facilities;
  3. phasing in a requirement for city contractors to be certified in smart salt usage;
  4. hosting a public-private smart salt summit in the Fall of 2011 to share best practices in salt management with BOMA and other local public institutions;
  5. providing information for residents on the city website for smart salt usage for residents and private property.
All of this interest has triggered training courses in Milton (August), Kitchener (September) and Ottawa (October), with more to come. People can check the available training through the events page of the Smart about Salt website and register online for one of the training courses.

Keep an eye on this spot for future commentary on salt management. If there are specific topics you would like covered, email smartaboutsalt@bell.net.

Enjoy the lead-up to winter!
Bob Hodgins may be contacted at bob.hodgins@sympatico.ca.