Heckles

Illustration: Brennan Bova. Edits: Rame Abdulkader

Ah, it’s that time of year — the U of O’s annual vendetta against grass, the Rideau canal, and my shoes. As winter comes around some things are to be expected. The bitter cold air that hurts your face, the city of Ottawa’s inability to shovel the sidewalks, and the devastating 5-minute walk that becomes 15 minutes because of WST (Winter Standard Time). With all those issues you would think that’s the end—how much worse could winter possibly get?

Well, have you ever heard the saying “less is more”? The University of Ottawa hasn’t. They believe  “more is more” with the 80 gazillion pounds of salt they throw onto the ground whenever it drops below zero degrees Celsius. Now I appreciate the consideration they have for us students, I like not slipping and dying, but has anyone tried telling them they’ll get the same results with half the amount of salt?

Enough with this blatant disrespect for the environment—salt erodes soil quality for plants making the roots weaker. Having a greenhouse is of no purpose when you can’t even take care of the grass in the fields.

Not to mention we have a canal right beside our school, so run-off from the snow winds up in the water. I would also like to point out that we drink water from the Ottawa River, and according to the Ottawa Citizen road salt could have played a role in the pollution of the Flint River.

Beyond just that, can we take a moment for the shoes? People spend upwards of $100 per pair

of boots. Take one walk around campus in the winter, and your $200 pair of Timberlands will be covered in ugly white blotches. Have the U of O’s administrators tried getting salt stains out of suede? It’s basically impossible.

I have had my shoes for the past 3 years and the only time I cleaned them was at the end of every season. This winter I’ve had to clean them at least 8 times.

Not to mention that the floor in my apartment is a mess. There is a layer of salt on the floor near the door, and the same goes for the stairs leading up to my floor. I shouldn’t have to mop seven times a day.

With all that salt wasted, the university could save so much money by just spreading it properly. A little does go a long way—save that money and invest in something useful to student life.

There needs to be a level of consciousness when the campus is salted. It needs to be done with a bit of deliberation and care rather than dumping clumps of it onto the ground and hoping for the best.