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City of Vancouver staff insist they're ready to take on winter this year

Last Updated Nov 9, 2017 at 12:04 pm PDT

(Hana Mae Nassar, NEWS 1130 Photo)

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Remember the frustration last winter, when Vancouverites had a hard time finding road salt, and laneways and side streets weren’t cleared quickly enough — or even at all? City staff insist they are ready this year.

The city is increasing its salt reserve, as well as doubling its capacity for brine.

“We never ran out of salt last year,” says Ken Brown, manager of street operations, says they never ran out of salt last year. “But when we were getting temperatures that were well-below minus 5, then we were mixing salt and sand. But what was really problematic last winter was just the prolonged freezing temperatures.”

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The city is bringing in more plows and equipment and extra coverage locations.

“We also did a lot more training this year. We had a lot more of our drivers trained up so we’re able to pull additional resources, when needed, for support,” adds Brown.

Brown calls last winter an “exceptional” one. “We estimate that last winter was a once in a 30 year event. Believe me, that’s the last time I want to see it for at least another 30 years.”

He insists there will be enough salt this time around, but asks everyone to plan ahead.

“We already started the season with about 2,700 tonnes — just what we already had. And then [another] 8,000. Obviously, it’s going to depend on the winter, but we know that with proper salt management, we’re going to be able to have enough salt through this winter.”