Public demand for free sand has been consistently high over the last week and a half in Regina.
Norm Kyle, the city’s director of roadways and transportation, said the nine sandboxes scattered around the city continue to be popular, and crews are aware of this.
“Usually we do a weekly check in the winter on those boxes and we’ve been checking them daily,” he said.
Demand was so high the city recently ran out of usable sand, what Kyle called the clean sand without salt, along with the dry sand they had stockpiled. Many of the boxes sat empty as homeowners searched for a solution to address their icy sidewalks.
What the city did was put out a sand-salt mix in the boxes, similar to what city trucks will use on streets to make them less slippery. Six per cent of this mixture is salt.
In 10 days, Kyle explained they’ve used about 10 times what the city would have used during an entire season, looking at the five-year average. That amounts to in excess of 300 tonnes delivered to the sandboxes in about a week and a half, where a normal season would only average about 40 tonnes.
While the mild warm weather during the day will help melt a lot of ice on sidewalks, parking lots and streets, Kyle said temperatures are still dipping later on in the day.
“The only concern is overnight, if we’re still getting freezing temperatures. If all the ice doesn’t melt it’ll still freeze up and be a little slippery,” he said.
Kyle clarified they didn’t run out of sand and do have stockpiles of sand used for summer construction, but it sits outside frozen and he said they didn’t want to deliver chunks of that to residents.