Salting and sanding complaints up in Kitchener amid salt shortage
Multiple cities working together to deal with region-wide salt shortage: City of Kitchener officials
The City of Kitchener has seen a jump in the number of complaints they normally get about salting and sanding of roads, and the city says it is dealing with a "region-wide salt shortage."
So far this season, city officials have received at least 340 complaints about slippery roads.
That number is up significantly from the 2017/2018 season, where the city received 168 complaints on the issue. The season before, in 2016/2017, the city received about 256 complaints about salting and sanding.
The numbers could still change, with weeks of winter left in the region, and more freezing rain in the forecast on Wednesday.
City officials said area municipalities are short on salt right now due to supplier issues. Kitchener is working with the cities of Waterloo and Cambridge as well as the Region of Waterloo to try to secure additional salt.
A combination of severe weather, a 12-week strike at the Goderich, Ont., salt mine and flooding at an American salt mine in Cleveland, Ohio, are contributing to the shortage.
On Wednesday, officials said all residential backroads would be treated with sand in advance of Wednesday's freezing rain.
City officials also said they have received a total of 2,145 complaints for uncleared sidewalks so far this year, and more than 270 complaints about road plowing.
There is now a bylaw in place that requires homeowners to clear the sidewalk in front of their homes or face a fine, but city officials said that bylaw officers are to "use discretion" when enforcing that bylaw if the issue is related to a build-up of ice and an effort has been made to deal with the situation.
The city is also offering free sand at a number of locations. Homeowners can pick up free sand for icy sidewalks at the Kitchener operations facility and at sandboxes at most community centres.
Meanwhile, officials with the City of Waterloo said they do not have access to the number of snow clearing complaints this year versus last year, and that the city does not "generally compare numbers" until the end of season. City officials said the numbers were "subjective" due to the fact they were tracked by city staff and did not capture complaints on social media.