City of Ottawa Host Smart About Salt Summit

30 Nov 2011 11:29 AM | Deleted user

November 29th, Ottawa -

Councillor Steve Desroches; Bob Hodgins, Smart about Salt; Tony DiGiovanni, Landscape Ontario; and Dean Karakasis, BOMA after a successful Smart About Salt Summit.

The City of Ottawa hosted a Smart About Salt Summit on November 29th to foster greater public and private partnerships in promoting efficient salt use in the City. The City is working in partnership with local public and private sector organizations, local snow removal contractors and other key stakeholders, to move forward with salt management best practices as a means of protecting the environment and being fiscally responsible.

“The City is committed to being an environmental leader and steward through the adoption of innovative ways of reducing the amount of rock salt spread over the winter season,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We are pleased to be working in collaboration with other jurisdictions to make smart choices about how and when we use salt to improve safety, while ensuring our actions are in the best interests of our residents and the environment.”

The Smart About Salt Summit brought together public and private sector groups, Smart About Salt Council, Landscape Ontario and the Ontario Good Roads Association, to discuss best salt management practices and the City’s ongoing work to  be better at managing the use of de-icing chemical on its roads, parking lots and sidewalks. The event was widely attended with representation from local colleges, universities and school boards, the National Capital Commission, the federal and provincial government, commercial real estate and the snow removal contracting industry.

“Salt is a necessary tools for keeping our roads and sidewalks clear of ice during the winter, but excessive use of this important resource can lead to negative impacts on our environment,” said Councillor Steve Desroches. “By implementing smart salt practices, we will not only achieve environmental benefits, but also reduce winter maintenance costs and extend the capital life of our infrastructure.”

John Manconi, General Manager of Public Works for the City outlined how the City has significantly optimized how it uses salt on winter roads and sidewalks to minimize the effects of salt on the local environment while maintaining safety. He explained how the City has had many of its internal staff that maintains City facilities take the Smart About Salt training and their plans to implement the program at 5 city facilities.

“As responsible members of the community, we at BOMA recognize the need to take a leadership role in advocating for smart rock salt usage amongst our members as a means of protecting our environment and the people we serve,” said Dean Karakasis, Executive Director of the Building Owners and Managers Association, Ottawa Chapter. “We are pleased to work closely with the City on this worthwhile initiative.”

Tony DiGiovanni, Executive Director of Landscape Ontario, speaking on behalf of the contracting industry said: “Landscape Ontario is endorsing the Smart About Salt program for 5 interconnected reasons: 1) the program raises the level of professionalism within our sector; 2) the program begins the process of encouraging standardization; 3) the program promotes environmental stewardship; 4) the program promotes safe operations and risk management; and 5) the program will give Smart About Salt Certified contractors a competitive edge where clients require SAS Accreditation.

Brian Stratton of the Mississippi-Rideau Source Water Protection Region explained the Ontario-wide initiative to protect Ontario’s drinking water from contaminants including road salts. He explained how they are developing policies that draw on the Smart About Salt Program to help protect vulnerable drinking water sources in the Region.

“I congratulate the City of Ottawa for its leadership in promoting public safety and environmental stewardship by hosting the Smart About Salt summit, and look forward to working with the City and the many attendees to implement the program,” says Bob Hodgins, Executive Director of the Smart About Salt Council.

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