Hamilton salt supply shaken

(Update)With the storm approaching maintenance crews should be out preparing roads and sidewalks. But a salt shortage in some areas, including Hamilton is making it extremely difficult to get everywhere that needs to be clear, cleared.The City of Hamilton gets its ice salt from Cleveland. But now that the great lakes are frozen, they can’t ship in extra supplies. That means the city will focus on salting priority roads. meanwhile, private businesses are having a difficult time getting their hands on any salt.The lineup for salt at Outdoor Supplies and Equipment on Nebo Road Tuesday morning was about a half a kilometre long. But with only one load of salt to go around, the supply quickly ran out.Owner Rick McDowell says not only has the supply depleted. It’s doubled in price: “Keeping everyone to a 2 tonne maximum. There are just too many people out there who want to buy the whole load. You just can’t do it. In December, we were $110 a year. Which is roughly a tonne. Now it’s $220.”At 5am, Paul Klingender of Klink and Son Lawn Maintenance was fifth in line for salt. He received about one and a half tonnes. He needed three times that amount: “I’ve never been in this situation before because salt has always been a readily available commodity. But this year, being the winter that we’ve had, I’m scrambling for salt. Maybe one day I do half the customers or a third of the customers and the next day I do another third and so on and so fourth. I have no choice.”Later in the day outdoor supplies received a surprise shipment of salt. And once again, McDowell will have to ration: “With the storm coming the company says ideally they’d have 250 metric tonnes of salt. Right now they have 36 and that’s expected to sell in under an hour.”Klingender says Canadian mines forecast the amount they’ll need for the season and stockpile accordingly. He says this year, they ran out of salt by the middle of January: “They have an obligation to the municipalities and the province for the highways ”Leaving small businesses to do whatever they can to get their hands on this now hot commodity. And while businesses in the GTHA are having a hard time finding salt. The Regional Municipality of Niagara says so far, it has enough. It brought in an extra shipment before the lakes froze. How long it will last will depend on how long this weather goes on for. read more