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General News · 10th April 2017
Jack Wills
Last summer, there was a small discussion about salting unpaved roads for dust control.

At that time I was an objecting voice due to environmental concerns. My objections to road salting for dust control were over-ruled. Apparently, not too many others were concerned. In the end there was a request made to the MOT to have some summer dust control applied here on Cortes Island.
This past winter there was a huge application of salt on snowy roads. Many times there were seemingly unnecessary salt applications when there roads were dry, and with no precipitation forecast. Extra salt was trucked to the island for future application. I do not know if it is still here, and unused, or if it has all been spread on the roads. If still here, is it covered to prevent rain from washing dissolved salts into the nearest watercourse? If it has been applied, it eventually is dissolved by rains and flows into the nearest watercourse, hence into marshes, lakes, and the water table. Some eventually returns to the ocean.
On some dry early spring days before the rains, the road up from the ferry or the Gorge hill was a enveloped in a salty dust cloud. One could taste it in the air.

I would turn your attention to a lead CBC article today “Road salt threatening health of freshwater lakes, study finds” is the headline. This deals primarily with lakes and ecosystems back east, though it is equally applicable here.
Another CBC article that hits a bit closer to home is headlined “Road salt run-off has conservationist worried about salmon”
This article relates higher salmon mortality rates and deformities due to salt.

Do we really need all this salt? Do we really want a further salt application in summer as well?
The adherents of road salt applications assure us that it is not environmentally harmful. Empirical evidence and scientific studies indicate otherwise.

Please do a little research for yourselves. If you feel this is a non-issue, then ignore this.
If you are one of those concerned for the viability of our ecosystems and wetlands, speak out, make our regional director aware of your concerns.

Jack Wills
road paving
Comment by shirley A. on 11th April 2017
if we can implement a long term plan to begin properly paving the roads one stretch at a time then there will be a day when salt is not needed to control dust on the roads...