Council agrees to work with Windsor Salt on expanding under city land
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
The Windsor Star/Brian Cross
City council gave a cautious nod Monday to working with Windsor Salt on expansion plans the 127-year-old firm says are necessary to ensure supply beyond the next five to 10 years.
Accessing new salt supplies — under land that’s owned by the city and the province — will secure Windsor Salt’s future in the city it’s named after, helping to retain the 100 jobs in its evaporative salt operation, general manager Pierre Girard told councillors Monday, speaking remotely from within the company’s cavernous underground location.
Windsor Salt has two distinct operations: the Ojibway Mine facility where rock salt is harvested underground, and the evaporative site which since 1893 has been producing food-grade salt products by using water to pipe salt from salt deposits to the evaporative plant. About 350 people are employed at both operations. It’s the evaporative operation that needs more salt deposits, which are in good supply under city and provincially-owned properties in the west end, Girard said.
“Windsor Salt would like to work with you, with the province, to find the most sustainable path forward for accessing these salt deposits,” he said, explaining a process that involves finding the best locations, and working through a rigorous approval process. Speaking to the risk of safety issues such as sinkholes in city parks, he responded: “We’ve been in business here 127 years, we take that very, very seriously.”
He said it will be a long process. The locations where Windsor Salt wants to expand are still to be determined, he said.
“We need to do this carefully, we need to do this thoughtfully. It’s going to take time.”
Council approved a motion put forward by Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante, who represents the west end.
“This is a motion just to say let’s continue working together to find solutions that accomplish the goals of Windsor Salt, who’s a big employer in our community, but also recognize they’re operating in our city,” he said. “And we want to do this in the least disruptive, environmental way.”