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General News · 12th May 2016
Noba Anderson
Thank-you to Dietrich for bringing the matter of dusty roads back to our collective Cortes attention with a good perspective for our consideration through his tideline article of May 2nd. It, and the condition of the roads themselves, have generated a few calls to me about wanting a remedy to the dust clouds.

There has been a long-standing note on file at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) that Cortes does NOT want dust suppression for environmental concerns. A few years ago I asked Cortes Islanders through an article if there was any interest in changing this policy and received very little response.

In speaking with MoTI yesterday, they told me that if they received a letter from me asking for a change in this policy they would certainly do so! Two catches: First, given that the dust suppressant has already been ordered, as I understand from Chile, for the year based on need there is no guarantee of availability for Cortes for this year. But if we ask, they will do their best to give us any extra they have. Second, I would need to feel reasonably comfortable that the use of dust suppressant is the will of islanders before writing that letter in a week or so. Note - MoTI is planning on chip-sealing Highfield Road this summer so it would likely not be a candidate for dust suppression.

What I need to know from you is if you want dust suppressant on our gravel roads or not and if so on which roads! Please send me a brief email ( or call me 250-935-0320 and leave message within the week!

The dust control product Emcon has sourced this year is Magnesium Chloride. Here is a website with some information as given to me by MoTI, and here’s a little excerpt from a road maintenance product website:

Magnesium Chloride: Magnesium chloride is a hygroscopic, deliquescent compound that attracts moisture from the air and resists evaporation. Magnesium binds fine dust particles to keep roads stabilized, to slow the loss of aggregate, and to reduce the need for costly re-grading. Liquid magnesium reduces erosion, makes unpaved surfaces harder and more compact, and helps to prevent surfaces from becoming uneven or developing potholes.

Offered in 33% liquid form, this environmentally preferred compound is used in sensitive watershed and wetland areas and in places where workers prefer the therapeutic effects of this natural compound from the Great Salt Lake and Dead Sea.

I’ve attached the relevant section of MoTI's contract with Emcon which speaks to how and where the dust control gets applied.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Noba Anderson
Regional Director, Cortes