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Debate over winter tires in Alberta revived as winter looms

Click to play video 'Edmonton debate over road safety brings up winter tires question' Edmonton debate over road safety brings up winter tires question
WATCH: The first snowfall is looming and Edmonton is hoping to finalize its snow and ice policy. As the debate over calcium chloride continues, the city is looking at other tools to make Edmonton roads safer. Julia Wong explains – Sep 25, 2019

The first snowfall in Edmonton is just around the corner, and as councillors debate the future of an anti-icing program meant to make city roads safer, some are also raising other options.

A decision on whether to continue using calcium chloride was postponed to next week, but before it was, Councillor Aaron Paquette raised the issue of winter tires.

READ MORE: Edmonton councillors can’t make decision on ‘salty’ calcium chloride issue

“The goal isn’t bare pavement. The goal is traction and safety. All of those things are part of the suite that help us achieve traction and safety,” he said.

“Realistically, one of the things that does it the most is just a good set of winter tires.”

City administration said it is a topic it can pursue with the province, since making winter tires mandatory would fall under provincial jurisdiction.

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WATCH BELOW (Sept. 24): Edmonton’s snow and ice removal program continues to be up for debate. At issue: the use of a calcium chloride solution and it seems councillors need more time to make a decision. Julia Wong has more from city hall.

Click to play video 'No decision on calcium chloride use on Edmonton roads' No decision on calcium chloride use on Edmonton roads
No decision on calcium chloride use on Edmonton roads – Sep 24, 2019

“We would definitely promote the province to go that route. We think it makes sense,” said deputy city manager Gord Cebryk.

“I don’t necessarily think winter tires alone would be the answer.”

READ MORE: Are winter tires worth it? What Alberta drivers need to know

Winter tires are currently mandatory in Quebec and parts of B.C. A 2009 report by the Quebec government found that there was a five per cent drop in traffic collisions and injuries when comparing the period when winter tires are required with the period around it.

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WATCH BELOW (Nov. 14, 20218): The New Brunswick Medical Society is calling on the province to look at making winter tires mandatory for all vehicles.

Click to play video 'New Brunswick Medical Society calls for mandatory winter tires on all vehicles' New Brunswick Medical Society calls for mandatory winter tires on all vehicles
New Brunswick Medical Society calls for mandatory winter tires on all vehicles – Nov 14, 2018

The Alberta Motor Association said winter tires are effective.

“They reduce your stopping distance by up to 15 metres compared to all-season tires. They provide better traction on snow and ice,” said AMA spokesperson Brandon Klassen.

Klassen said that if all vehicles in the province had winter tires, the number of collisions on Alberta highways would go down.

However, he said the AMA does not have a stance on whether it should be mandatory.

“We encourage everybody to get winter tires to reduce those collisions and make Albertans safer on the road,” Klassen said.

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Transportation Minister Ric McIver said the government isn’t looking at making winter tires a requirement.

“At this point, we have not decided to do that…I’m not saying it’s a bad idea,” he said.

McIver said it’s about driving within a vehicle’s capabilities, whether there are snow tires or not.

“Each of us that drive has a responsibility to make our vehicle safe and we have a responsibility to operate our vehicles in a safer manner.”

WATCH BELOW: Explaining the difference between all-weather, all-season and winter tires

Click to play video 'Explaining the difference between all-weather, all-season and winter tires' Explaining the difference between all-weather, all-season and winter tires
Explaining the difference between all-weather, all-season and winter tires – Oct 17, 2016