Mono maintaining its blend of salt, sand on winter roads

February 2, 2017   ·   0 Comments

With snow and ice conditions being what they have been this season, Mono’s Works Department has been taxed keeping up with the ever-changing conditions.

Bob McCrea brought this to Council’s attention at last Tuesday’s meeting, with a pair of road and weather-related concerns. Mr. McCrea, who  lives in Mono’s Island Lake subdivision, had issues regarding being able to reach the Works Department after hours and the effectiveness of sanding/salting of the town roads.

It was Mr. McCrea’s understanding that Council had instructed the department to reduce the amount of salt it was using, for sake of the environment, and he felt that given the conditions, during and after the ice storm earlier in the month, that more salt should have been applied, citing the Town of Orangeville’s use of a 50/50 mix. He also felt that it was difficult to discover just how to contact the department, after hours, to report road emergencies.

Council pointed out that an emergency contact, a direct number, is provided at the end of the recorded message heard on the Town phone number after regular business hours, and also on the Town website. This number gives residents direct contact with  Works Department personnel in the event of an emergency situation.

Mr. McCrea then wondered if this number could be made more prominently available, as many people would not necessarily listen to the entire message, before hanging up and also that many would never think to use the Town website. He did, however, make certain that Council understood that upon reaching the department, the response was both timely and cordial.

As for the matter of road salt, both Deputy Mayor Ken McGhee and Works Manager and Roads Superintendent Michael Dunmore spoke to the matter. Mr. McGhee emphasized that, in his entire tenure as a councillor, the Council had never instructed the Public Works Department to reduce the amount of road salt they use, but rather left those decisions to the Superintendent of Roads.

Mr Dunmore went on to explain that on the night in question, the road crews were using a 50/50 mixture, but many things can influence what is put down on the road surface and why. In Mono, the plow drivers can adjust the mixture as the conditions warrant and that, at temperatures below –6º Celsius, salt actually does not work, one reason the MTO has been using brine (magnesium chloride) on many of the provincial highways. Mono uses everything, from pure salt to only sand, as the conditions warrant.

Town hall meeting march 25

Council has set the date and location, of the next the next Town Hall Meeting, as March 25th at the Mono Community Centre. The meeting theme will be on water and water quality, as this has become a general concern of late, due in part to levels of sodium in municipal water supplies. One possible source of the sodium, is, coincidentally, road salt.

A second water-related concern is that of abandoned wells on vacant properties. These, of course, pose a safety issue as well as a point of potential ground water contamination.

Councillor Ralph Manktelow also suggested that council might want to add Radon gas to the agenda, as it is a known hazard, that is naturally occurring and can have serious consequences to those exposed to it, not the least of which is that it is a known carcinogen, due to it being radioactive.

Council voted to extend its current contract with the Ontario SPCA’s Orangeville & District Animal Centre, for animal control in the town.

Continuing with water related issues, it was noted that, at the moment, Mono does not extract sodium in it’s water purification processes, however the current levels of sodium, in the town water are less than that of a glass of milk and would only be an issue for those residents with highly salt restricted diets. Mayor Laura Ryan has asked Public Works Director  Mike Dunmore to prepare a presentation on water quality for the March town hall meeting.

The final items on the agenda were reports from Town staff. Recreation Director Kim Perryman noted that the Winter yoga classes had been cancelled due to low enrolment, but they hope to bring them back in the spring. The Canada 150 Hiking Challenge has been receiving outstanding support from the business community, in the form of sponsorships and the opening kick-off will be a community picnic, on June 4th of this year. Chris Little has taken over the organization for Mono on a Bike, which will happen on September 9.

Michael Dunmore reported that all tenders for work in 2017 are currently out and that the Town’s new snowplow will be delivered soon. He noted that roads cannot be graded in the winter months, due to frost conditions and that, that equipment, is relegated to snow removal instead.

A new retaining wall on the First Line is well under way and the sidewalks behind it will be installed in the Spring. Mr. Dunmore was asked by Deputy Mayor McGhee whether the Town tests the asphalt used on its roads prior to it being laid down. The roads superintendent confirmed that they indeed do test asphalt quality and loads have been refused based upon poor quality. This came up in response to a report concerning sub-standard asphalt on Provincial roads.

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