The chair of the operational services committee, said the issue is more provincial in scope, and has concerns with imposing such regulations and enforcement from a municipal perspective.
However, the first-term councillor also said the local terrain and weather conditions are conducive to the use of studded tires, and there is no proof studs are causing any considerable damage to city streets.
“With the topography that we have, it is a safety and risk factor for the people driving around our city, especially when it comes to our heavy amounts of snowfall,” Francis said. “I think a large percentage of our residents have studs on, and they have them on for safety reasons.”
The City of St. John’s is considering a ban on studded tires, claiming it is creating significant damage to asphalt and causing a substantial loss of revenue due to repairs.
Francis said council, during her term, has not discussed the use of studded tires in the city. However, those talks have occurred within the operational services committee, she said.
Despite the acknowledgement of studies claiming studded tires cause pavement to wear down over time, the councillor is unconvinced it is a significant contributor to the pavement woes in Corner Brook.
“The volume of traffic we have and the number of vehicles we have that use studs, we are not really certain it is an issue for us or that it is actually affecting our pavement in the city of Corner Brook,” she said.
She does not see a need for council to discuss or consider a ban on studded tires, but council and staff are continually exploring ways to improve the asphalt product.
“Obviously we do have asphalt problems, as everybody does here, and a lot of that is contributed to the weather and the changes in weather that we have,” she said. “We are always looking at ways to lay our asphalt and do a better job of that.”
Meanwhile, Rayna Luther, assistant director of operational services, reiterated studded tires has not been on the agenda of city staff. She said there has been no correlation made between the asphalt woes and the use of studded tires.
Studies exist both saying it has an impact on the wearing down of asphalt and that it doesn’t.
Luther said the city continues to study its asphalt mix, something that goes back years as frustration over an ineffective products mounted.
“We are continuing to work with our consultants to improve our asphalt every year,” she said. “We monitor the asphalt that gets put down each year to see how it performs, and we make minor adjustments depending on the outcome of that.”
She said it is still too early to gauge whether the asphalt laid in the past two years has been a substantial improvement over that of previous ones.
“In the short-term, things definitely seem to be improving a little,” she said. “It is too early to make any comments as to whether our rutting issues are resolved, but we certainly hoping we are going in the right direction and are continuing to work on it.”
The deadline for the removal of studded tires was Monday night (April 30).