February 28, 2019 6:40 pm
Updated: February 28, 2019 6:58 pm

Laval running on empty, Montreal low on salt to de-ice streets and sidewalks

WATCH: A Rosemont man has taken a do-it-yourself approach to clear the ice on the street in front of his house. Global's Billy Shields finds out how.

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It’s been a rough, record-breaking winter on many fronts, and now many cities on and around the island of Montreal are running low on salt.

The City of Laval has already gone through its entire season’s worth of supply — 44,400 metric tonnes (MT) of salt. While Laval still has a relatively small emergency supply in stock, it won’t be enough to last the winter. An extra shipment of 4,500 MT is currently on its way from Morocco and expected to arrive on March 4.

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“The City of Laval paid 34 per cent more for salt this year because of a strike at a salt mine in Ontario last summer,” said Laval city spokesperson Louis-Philippe Dorais. “This reduced the supply on the North American market, forcing us to find international suppliers.”

READ MORE: Road salt, crampons selling out across West Island

The low salt supply, combined with this season’s abnormally icy conditions, is wreaking havoc on roads and sidewalks and breaking municipal budgets.

The City of Montreal was also forced to spend 30 per cent more on salt this year, having to turn to a supplier in Chili. Montreal has already used up 90 per cent of its 200,000 MT of salt supply for the year, but unlike Laval, it doesn’t expect to have to place a new order.

“The agreements with our providers give us the possibility to access up to 20 per cent more salt for a maximum consumption of 240,000 MT,” said Montreal city spokesperson Marilyne Laroche Corbeil.

“The expected total consumption shouldn’t surpass our maximum supply.”

WATCH: Montreal winter weather woes continue

The City of Côte-St-Luc is also running low on salt. Typically, it orders about 6,200 MT, which isn’t expected to last the winter. “We will probably order an extra 300 to 500 MT,” said Côte-St-Luc spokesperson Darryl Levine.

READ MORE: Several Laval streets covered in snow and ice

It’s a similar situation for cities on Montreal’s West Island. Beaconsfield has surpassed its salt budget by $50,000. “We have a budget around $150,000 for salt only and right now we’re up to $200,000,” said Beaconsfield public works director Marie-Claude Desrochers.

She insists breaking the budget isn’t holding them back from de-icing city streets and sidewalks, though.

“We never said ‘no, we’re not putting salt to save money,'” Desrochers told Global News. “We have to be sure that the roads are safe and that’s what we’re working for.”

Pointe-Claire is also waiting for a new shipment since it has surpassed its expected consumption of 6,000 MT and is already at 7,000 MT and counting.

“We have ordered 500 MT more just to make sure,” explained city spokesperson Marie-Pier Paquette Séguin.

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