The problem with salt: crucial for winter safety, but what is the cost?

By Pam Strong, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Canadian winters present many challenges for parking lot and property managers across the country, with their mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. The use of snowplows and the application of sand is one of the only options for colder climate areas in Canada and will generally provide the traction needed for safe conditions. In more temperate areas, however, the application of a de-icing agent is often required alongside plowing. These are typically some of the country’s more highly populated areas, making proper maintenance crucial due to the higher traffic volumes. Winter maintenance is a challenge in these areas, where temperatures often hover around the freezing mark and freeze-thaw cycles are common. However, it is in these conditions where the use of road salt (i.e. sodium chloride) has become the common, practice. As its use has become increasingly widespread over the past several years, with approximately seven million tonnes applied annually in Canada, we have also come to realize that its use comes with several significant environmental and financial consequences.

Road salt has been in use as a de-icer since the late 1940s, and it has become the most used tool in the winter maintenance toolbox. It is relatively inexpensive, generally easy to access, easy to store and use, and it is highly effective at melting snow and ice, at temperatures down to -9° Celsius. These characteristics have led to its widespread use for road maintenance, and for private residences and parking lots of all types. In 2004, Environment Canada introduced a Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts, for use by road maintenance agencies.  Since that time, these agencies have been making efforts to refine their winter maintenance practices and reduce the amount of salt…

Continue reading →

Xennials and Parking

By Chelsea Webster

We know that parking customers have many different needs. How do we cater to each group to maximize our customer loyalty and revenue? Does segmenting our offerings by age group produce results? If you’re willing to explore age segmentation in the parking industry, here’s a group with some unique characteristics that’s worth a second thought: Xennials.

What is a Xennial?

Xennials are a micro-generation that exists for those folks born between 1977-1985 (me!), bridging the gap between millennials (we embrace technology, have positive outlooks, and care about the greater good) and Gen-Xers (we had dial up internet and didn’t get cell phones until our 20’s). We grew up with an analog childhood and matured into a digital adulthood. The best line I’ve read describing xennials so far is “As we were growing up, technology matured along side us. We had time to get used to it and were still young enough to feel right at home with it.” Best of all, the existence of this peer group gives us the ultimate “I told you so” moment in emphasizing we are NOT millennials (Pro Tip #1: don’t talk to us like we are, as we really hate that).

How do Xennials Compare to Millennials, Gen X & Baby Boomers?

Age before beauty. Baby boomers – all 76 million of them in the US + 10 million more in Canada – are typically thought of as hardworking, team players, mentors, and being born into the right place at the right time; but also, not adaptable or collaborative. Gen-Xers, of whom there are 55 million in the US and another 7 million in Canada, are nostalgic geeks, adaptable, and good at problem solving; but are very individualistic and cynical. Millennials total 83 million in the US plus 10 million in Canada are very tech-savvy,…

Continue reading →