June 19, 2019 8:00 am
Updated: June 19, 2019 8:15 pm

Councillor not pleased calcium chloride will be used on Edmonton roads again

WATCH ABOVE: The use of calcium chloride on Edmonton roads is up for debate yet again. On Wednesday, the city provided an update about how the two-year pilot project has gone. Julia Wong reports.

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One Edmonton councillor is upset that management staff have decided to forge ahead with another year of using calcium chloride on city roads.

“I still don’t believe the program will work,” Mike Nickel said. “It’s damaging our infrastructure, our cars, it’s killing our plants and it’s not making our roads any safer.”

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Nickel met this week with one supplier of the product, ahead of Wednesday’s release of a city council report that will go over the pros and cons of proceeding with the controversial product.

“Let’s just say we didn’t see eye to eye on the outcomes of that process,” Nickel said.

“He highlighted for me several deficiencies in our first application. We’ll see if administration comes up and talks about that.”

READ MORE: Newly uncovered City of Edmonton memo raises questions about impacts of calcium chloride

Nickel said a problem with the incorrect use of rust inhibitor plagued the first year of the pilot project. He said he has heard from whistle blowers on city staff.

“I won’t lie, that’s where I get my best information.”

“What’s actually going on on the ground is front line staff. They’re very frustrated.

“Across a lot of departments… are telling me they’re tired of sliding through intersections, for example. And they believe — and I think they’re correct — it has something to do with calcium chloride.”

Global News previously reported this year that city memo, obtained through a freedom of information request, acknowledged the negative impacts on city roads. The four-page document shows that the city is aware of the extent of damage that calcium chloride could have on roads and buildings.

Watch below (Jan. 14): The use of calcium chloride on Edmonton roads has been a controversial issue the last couple years. Now, a newly uncovered memo is raising more concerns. Julia Wong reports.

Christian Gersdorff, a red seal mechanic, intends on being at the June 26 Community and Public Services Committee meeting to raise his concerns.

“I’m seeing vehicles that look like they’re only a couple of years old and it’s just absolutely shocking at the amount of corrosion, I mean, right through.”

“We’re not talking surface rust; we’re talking right through body panels, which makes vehicles unsafe. It does all sorts of things to vehicles that are detrimental.”

Gersdorff said he has seen a change in the last two years on his 2011 model vehicle.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s salt brine pilot saved city $4.3M on snow and ice removal efforts: report

“In the time that they’ve been putting this stuff on the roads here in the city, my rear bumper is so corroded… there’s chunks of paint flaking off. I can’t believe the amount of corrosion that’s happened.”

LISTEN BELOW: Janet Tecklenborg, director of infrastructure operations, City of Edmonton

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Councillor Andrew Knack is anxious to see the cost-benefit analysis that is expected in the report that’s to be released ahead of a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

“We sort of expected there would likely be improvements in safety, but we need to understand to what cost? And then we have to balance that against one and other.

“If there’s substantial safety improvements with minor costs then that might be very different than if there’s minor safety impacts and pretty substantial cost impacts.”

A city report from June 2018 found savings of $4.3 million from using the calcium chloride solution.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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