The solution to Prince Albert’s problem with dusty, unpaved streets is a thick layer of asphalt, the City says.
In 2013, elected officials in the City proposed to pave the remaining gravel roads to solve the dust issues. This came after the City decided to end its existing street oiling program and seek other alternatives.
Last year, Coun. Charlene Miller sought support from West Flat homeowners for local improvement projects to pave the streets in front of their homes.
The end result of that campaign is that two blocks will be paved this year, 14th Street West from 13th to 14th Avenue, and from 15th to 16th Avenue.
Mayor Greg Dionne said the City will continue to offer "incentives" and he and councillors will be going door-to-door to seek residents’ support for local improvement projects on their block.
“This year, we’re going to look at lowering our interest rate, because they pay it over time,” Dionne said on Monday.
Dionne said he believes every street in the city should be paved.
“It’s so much easier to maintain, grade, clean, water, control, everything,” he said.
With a local improvement project, the cost the residents assume to cover the cost of paving a residential road in front of their property is added on to their municipal tax bill, Dionne said.
For the streets that remain unpaved, however, the City will continue to have crews spray them with dust-suppressing chemicals.
In 2013, council opted to stop using oil to supress the dust, and adopt a more environmentally friendly substance, Earth Glue.
But a May 19 report compiled by operations manager Alain Trudel reveals that the Earth Glue was not effective. When City administration contacted the manufacturer about the product, the manufacturer told the City that Earth Glue had been discontinued because it performed poorly.
The company now manufactures another chemical intended to keep the dust from flying around on the gravel road. That chemical costs six times what the Earth Glue did.
The City is now looking to use a combination of products to supress the dust, and that proposal was approved by members of council in a special meeting on Monday.
Trudel describes the combination as a “hodge podge” and it will include the return to street oiling, but limited to areas that it would best serve.
He said they’ll start to apply the chemicals to the streets within the next few weeks. When the street sweeping program has wrapped up, he said those crew members will be refocused and will work on the dust suppression program.
On Twitter: @thiajames
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