Côte St. Luc councillor Ruth Kovac called for the installation of heated sidewalks in the city, after council last week approved the purchase of road salt.
Councillor Steven Erdelyi said the cost to the city increased 29 percent this year.
"Normally, we spend about $500,000 on salt, and for 2019, we estimate it's going to be just over $600,000," he told The Suburban.
The concept of heated sidewalks was pioneered in Holland, Michigan, which has had them since 1988.
"Waste heat from power generation is captured to heat water, which is circulated through 190 miles of tubing laid underneath the pavement and sidewalks," explains the Holland city website in reference to their system. "Added benefits include: No salting, No plowing, No slipping or sliding."
Kovac told the November council meeting that heated sidewalks would have long term benefits for the environment, for the sewers "we have to repair all the time," and would avoid damage to cars from salt.
"If it's working in northern countries in Europe, why can't it work here?" she asked. "Why can't we take the time and reexamine our engineers' report and look at doing something that's better for us in the long term by having geo-thermal or some other technology that's out there instead of just ordering salt because its the thing to do? We have to think into the future."
Erdelyi said the price hike was due to a 12-week strike at the largest salt mine in the world, under Lake Huron in Ontario.
"That created a shortage worldwide, which meant some of the salt coming to Quebec had to be brought in from Chile, of all places," he explained. "We hope, next year, when supplies are back up, that the price will go back down. But, of course, we have to continue using salt. Maybe, one day, we will have heated sidewalks and we won't need so much salt."
Councillor Dida Berku said the price of salt fluctuates over time.
"Hopefully, the market will re-stabilize and we'll get a better price again."