Homeowners and contractors across Ontario are having difficulty with the unprecedented province-wide shortage of salt just in time for an icy storm of freezing rain across Southern Ontario.
The storm is coming in from Colorado, and it’s expected to bring another chilly whirlwind of snow and freezing rain stretching from Windsor to Cornwall. The storm will be its worst in the middle, from London to Tobermory and Durham to Niagara.
As the freezing rain moves in, salt supplies are extremely low after last year’s severe winter weather, ongoing flooding at an American salt min underneath Lake Erie in Cleveland, and a 12-week strike at the salt mine in Goderich, Ontario.
— CBC Toronto (@CBCToronto) February 20, 2019
“Having a three-month hiatus hasn’t really helped the situation,” Unifor Local 16-0 president Gary Lynch explains of the Goderich mine, according to CBC. “We can produce a lot of salt in three months.” The strike has depleted the reserves, but since last year’s labour despute, the mine has been running 24/7 with most employees working 12-hour shifts in order to turn out up to 300 tractor trailers of salt per day.
Even stores have begun selling out quickly of the few shipments that arrive, with reports of stores in London, Waterloo, and Windsor even turning customers away, according to CBC. Because of this, many private contractors have turned to places like Morocco or Egypt where prices are higher. “The salt price went up 50 per cent,” London Snowplow and Landscape owner Dennis Leonhardt explained. “Last year, I was paying $96 a tonne and this year I’m paying $145.”
Leonhardt even went on to call the scenario unprecedented, as this is the first time he’s had to acquire salt from foreign countries.