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Edmonton city council votes against using calcium chloride this winter
A controversial chemical will not be used to de-ice Edmonton city streets following a 7-6 vote by city council.
After several sessions of debate, an amended motion was narrowly passed pledging to "discontinue the use of calcium chloride on city roads for the 2019/2020 winter."
The chemical was being used in a pilot project on Edmonton streets, but residents complained that it damaged surrounding ecosystems and others reported that it was damaging their vehicles.
Councillors were supposed to decide last week, but a mistake meant it had to go to a re-vote. Coun. Tim Cartmell said he meant to vote yes but admitted he mistakenly voted no.
Now that the chemical has been voted down, city crews will be relying on sand and plowing this winter, plus road salt, which some believe is the most damaging ingredient.
Another part of the passed amendment asks city staff to prepare a report for next June that will shed light on other de-icing measures, "which could include bare pavement without the use of salt, calcium chloride, and sand."
City statistics show winter collisions are down by 16 per cent since crews began using calcium chloride.
But residents have been voicing concerns that the de-icing compound is too corrosive and has damaged their vehicles and garage floors. There is also concern for the environment.
"The fact is, the trust for this substance is lost. Regardless of whether it's used in other cities and in greater amounts," said Ward 4 councillor Aaron Paquette.
Mayor Don Iveson has said there isn't room in the budget for more plows until at least January 2020.
A report on alternative anti-icing options will be debated next summer.