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UPDATE: Community sandboxes returning to Edmonton this week

File / Global News

Community sandboxes will soon return to Edmonton neighbourhoods after a motion put forward by a city councillor received unanimous support on Tuesday.

Ward 10 Coun. Michael Walters put forward a motion to bring back the program for next winter. Mayor Don Iveson took it one step further and asked if city staff could look into bringing the sand back for the rest of this winter season.

City administration said it would see what it could do to make that happen. on Wednesday, the city announced the boxes returned to participating community leagues by the end of this week and filled with sand by the end of next week.

READ MORE: Winter safety: Should you be shovelling the snow?

The city scrapped its community sandbox program last year to improve efficiencies in the transportation department, saving it $300,000 every year.

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Instead of putting boxes in neighbourhoods, where residents could grab sand for their icy sidewalks, the city opted to instead offer sand at five city maintenance yards. Sand will still be offered at the yards, in addition to the boxes in neighbourhoods.

The city said bringing back the program for the remainder of the winter will not affect the overall budget, due to savings in the snow and ice program in January.

Walters said he received a number of emails and phone calls about the program being scrapped.

“People [were] saying they used the sand to help manage the ice on their sidewalks and particularly since we’ve been seeing more freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw cycles, sidewalks have been a little more difficult to manage for folks.”

READ MORE: Edmonton councillor wants community sandboxes back next winter

The city said it is reviewing its snow and ice control programs for all public spaces. Potential changes to the snow and ice control policy and the community sandboxes program will be brought to City council this summer.

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