Safety salt is a hot commodity in Prince Rupert, and residents may find it challenging to locate a bag from suppliers in the city during the ongoing cold snap.
As of Jan. 5, multiple retailers across town have run out of the ice melting product, and some with remaining supplies have limited customers to buying one bag of salt per person.
“It’s become frustrating for everybody,” Maria Melo, manager at Prince Rupert Home Hardware Building Centre, said.
The problem seems to be a lack of supply compounded by Prince Rupert’s remote location away from stock, Melo said, adding other winter supplies such as shovels are in good supply, and it is only melting salts they have run out of.
Orders kind of go by pecking order due to location, she said. At the end of the day, somebody closer to the warehouse is probably going to get salt before us due to different load-up and delivery dates.
“So, someone closer might get it before us by the time they hit my order,” she said.
To be equitable to all customers, Melo limited customers to one bag each before supplies ran out.
“It wouldn’t be fair to sell somebody a whole skid and then have the rest of my customers struggling,” she said. “… but most customers are understanding because this is not normal weather for us. It’s a long stretch of super cold and snow.”
Though Melo has a lot of melting salt on backorder, the product will only be shipped once supplies are available. More salt should arrive by Jan. 10, she said.
Windsor Salt Ltd., which manufactures the recognizable large 10-kilogram yellow bags of salt, is located in Ontario and ships salt to B.C. Black Press Media has reached out to the company for comment.
While residents may be scrambling to snag a bag of salt, the City of Prince Rupert operations team is not experiencing salt supply issues at the moment, Veronika Stewart, communications manager, wrote in an email so that road maintenance can be kept up.
Black Press Media reached out to various retailers in Prince Rupert to confirm the salt shortage. Petro Canada, in Seal Cove, currently has no salt but has it on order. Its arrival date is unknown.
Grassy Bay Petro Canada said their supplier is sold out and has not had any salt in stock since before Jan 1.
Rona has some bags of salt but is not sure if any will arrive in the next shipment due at the end of the week.
Walmart is out of salt and does not know when more product will arrive.
Chevron and 7-Eleven have none and have said they expect deliveries on Jan. 6
With files from K-J Millar