The province of P.E.I. and the Port of Summerside have found a new location to store the Island's road salt this winter.
Earlier this year, the supplier in Nova Scotia warned about potential "operational issues" over the winter — meaning all 40,000 tonnes of salt needed to be delivered before the season started, rather than in regular shipments through the winter.
Originally, the Port of Summerside planned to store it on Summerside's waterfront. The Port started to build an enclosure there for the salt, but the city issued a stop work order, saying the area didn't have the required zoning.
It will now be stored at Slemon Park. Summerside Coun. Corey Snow said that's where it should have gone in the first place.
"I think at the end of the day it works out best for all of us," he said. "We'll move on from this and hopefully build upon a relationship that should be a prosperous one for the City of Summerside and try to work with the Port so in the future … we can find a solution together as opposed to working against each other."
The 40,000 tonnes of salt arrived in the city last week. Port of Summerside CEO Allen Croken said crews worked a 14-hour day shipping it to Slemon Park.
The pile has been covered with large tarps to protect it from the elements. The salt is owned by the province, but the Port of Summerside is in charge of storing it.
A 'fairly serious' problem
"We had to find another location and at this time I want to thank the management of Slemon Park Corporation for working with us," Croken said.
"Trying to resolve a problem that was fairly serious — because we're talking about road salt for the province of P.E.I. — this was something that could have impacted the whole province."
The new enclosure is built on an abandoned runway in Slemon Park.
The province says an environmental assessment was completed and the runway was repaved to stop the salt from seeping into the ground. Groundwater monitoring wells were installed, along with a perimeter of concrete blocks.
Snow said he's happy with the new location and so are Summerside residents.
"Everything we've heard is that the best decision was to have it stored somewhere else as opposed to on our waterfront," said Snow. "It was definitely an issue that all councillors hear from our constituents."
The Port said it's happy to have a solution, but it has been an expensive one. Croken didn't say how much this all cost, but said the Port is looking at legal options to try and recoup some of the expenses.
The province said this is a temporary solution and the salt will only be stored at Slemon Park this winter.