Mere hours after the City of Regina urged residents to pick up free sand for icy sidewalks, some people are finding it hard to find.
“It’s bone dry. All the sand’s gone,” said Bill Luzecky Thursday morning outside Northgate Mall after he lifted the yellow bin’s lid to find out there was nothing inside.
Within about a 15-minute window, dozens of people drove up to the bin, some with shovels in hand, to find out the sand was gone and the bin empty.
“Obviously the public has heard that the city is making this available but demand is exceeding supply,” said John Stevenson, who came up empty handed again after having come from the Jack Hamilton Arena on McCarthy Boulevard with the same outcome.
The bin in Cathedral was also empty at the mid-point of the day.
Texters to the CJME text line reported a number of the nine locations had empty bins as of early Thursday afternoon.
However, some texted to say there were a couple locations that were fully stocked.
On Wednesday afternoon, the city’s Director of Roadways and Transportation Norm Kyle said staff would try and keep bins topped up as best as possible.
“Our crews will continue to monitor and make sure they’re stocked with sand, especially in an event like this,” he said.
“They’re open for residents to get to at any time and they can take whatever they need.”
After Kyle said that, the city changed that message slightly late Thursday afternoon and recommended residents bring a small container, like an ice cream bucket, and take only what’s needed for their property so there will be sand left for others.
Kyle highlighted how there are nine locations, but going to check each one is too onerous for Luzecky.
“I’m not gonna drive all the way around the city,” Luzecky said.
Luzecky said if there’s no sand, he’ll probably do nothing to his slippery sidewalk. He said nobody uses it anyway because of the ice and instead, people walk on the road.
For Stevenson, he has options, but they’re limited.
“Plan B is you go to a home supply store and you buy playground sand and see if they still have some in stock.”
The full list of sandbox locations in Regina includes:
- Northgate Mall – 7th Avenue North and Lorne Street
- Jack Hamilton Arena – 1010 McCarthy Boulevard
- Albert Scott Community Centre – 1264 Athol Street
- Cathedral Centre – 2900 13th Avenue
- Al Ritchie – 2230 Lindsay Street
- Murray Balfour Arena – 70 Massey Road
- Glencairn Centre – 2626 East Dewdney Avenue
- Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre – 3130 Woodhams Drive
- South Leisure Centre – 222 Sunset Drive
Ice melt flying off the shelves
Not only is sand in high demand, so is ice melt according to a local shop owner.
Rob McKague, owner of Wood Wyant, said people are taking ice melt off the shelves as fast as they’re stocking it.
“This past Tuesday was a little bit more extreme, we do get freezing rain every year and we always see an influx in business related to that,” McKague said.
He added people are also buying cleaning supplies at a steady pace to deal with the sludge coming in from the slushy streets.
“We’re seeing sales in the cleanup stuff as well,” he said. “The storm rinse, the mops, the brooms, the walk-off mats — all the stuff you don’t think about when you start putting stuff outside.”
As for supply, McKague said they still have a good amount, however, he’s heard that other places have been sold out at times.
—With files from Jessika Guse.