Calcium chloride vote delayed again after councillor votes wrong way
EDMONTON -- A vote on the future of calcium chloride use on Edmonton city streets will have to wait a little longer.
The final vote on the issue was delayed again at a Tuesday council meeting, this time because a councillor accidentally voted the wrong way.
Council was set to decide whether the controversial anti-icing agent would be used on winter roads amid complaints that the chemical was harming ecosystems and damaging cars.
At Tuesday’s meeting, two councillors put forward different motion amendments that were each aimed at halting calcium chloride use this winter.
Ward 9 Coun. Tim Cartmell tabled a motion to stop using CaCL and cut back on salt use as well, but that motion was defeated 7-6.
Then Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack introduced his amendment, which was to stop using the chemical, keep using salt and also commission a staff report after the winter season to see how street-clearing went without calcium chloride.
Knack’s amendment was passed 7-6, setting the stage for council to pass the amended motion. That’s when things went awry.
The motion including Knack’s amendment was defeated 7-6 because Cartmell voted the wrong way.
He admitted to his mistake and council initially said it would reconvene after lunch to fix the vote, but not every councillor was available.
Due to that and procedural hurdles, council chose to re-vote on the matter next Tuesday at council.
The debate was already held over from a meeting last week in which Cartmell tabled the motion that would end the use of calcium chloride and restrict salt usage.
“I don’t see data that says we do it with sand and now we do it with salt and salt is better,” Cartmell said at the time. “I see aggregate data over the whole season but I don’t see data that speaks to a specific strategy or specific tools.”
Residents have also voiced their concerns that the de-icing compound is too corrosive and can damage cars and surrounding ecosystems.
But city staff are standing by a recent report that says calcium chloride has made roads safer, with the number of crashes dropping in intersections where the chemical was used compared to the five-year period prior.
That report recommended the continued use of calcium chloride as well as blading, sanding and other de-icing and anti-icing agents.
Some councillors like Ward 5’s Sarah Hamilton acknowledge that regardless of where people fall on the calcium chloride issues, there is a “trust issue” with the public on the matter.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson.