History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation
2001 January 22-31
Index with links to the other chapters
2001 January 23
CJCH Part of National All-Sports Radio Network
Halifax's 920 CJCH is switching from talk to jock. The CHUM station is hanging up the news-chat format and strapping on athletic gear to become part of a new, countrywide 24-hour-a-day sports radio network, to be known as The Team.
"This is an exciting time for us," Bill Bodnarchuk, vice-president and general manager of Talk Radio 920 CJCH, said yesterday after announcing the shift to station employees. "I think it's long overdue." Bodnarchuk said the schedule will still have room for local news and weather, but the main focus of The Team will be sports, with national programming and local content figuring prominently.
The Team will be unique concept in radio, especially with the combination of local and national sports coverage, Bodnarchuk said. "We are making a major commitment to local sports," he said. The announcement comes at a time when Halifax is preparing to host the world junior hockey championships in 2002-03. "Guess what, everybody in the country is going to want to know about it and we will be there," Bodnarchuk boasted.
CHUM-owned stations in Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg and the Ontario cities of Peterborough, Kingston and Kitchener will all change to the all-sports format. The launch date hasn't been set, but Bodnarchuk expects the new format to be running by spring.
Talk Radio 920 CJCH began its all-talk format in 1995, after years of playing Top 40 music on the AM band.
Jim Waters, president of the CHUM Group Radio, told reporters in Toronto that while FM stations have prospered, moving listeners towards the AM dial has been a challenge. Changing the format will help the company and draw new listeners to AM radio, he said. "We think we can do better on our AM side by doing all-sports," said Waters.
One of the big local question marks is the future of Hotline with Rick Howe, CJCH's popular morning talk-show. Bodnarchuk said there are no plans to continue the talk-show format at this time, but added the station is looking at alternatives. He said there will be no layoffs in the format switch. "Right now a lot of things are still up in the air," he said.
[The Halifax Daily News, 23 January 2001]
CJCH Slated for National Sports Radio Network
CJCH 920 AM soon will be joining the CHUM Group Radio's Team Radio Network as part of Canada's first cross-country 24-hour sports talk radio network. The Team network initially will include stations in Halifax, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, and, in Ontario, Toronto, Ottawa, Peterborough, Kingston, and Kitchener.
Although the programming has not been finalized, The Team's vice-president and general manager, Paul Williams, said contracts have been signed and deals made with various radio and sports personalities. In addition to national sports coverage, the new format will include spots for local sports, news, and weather.
But what about the Halifax station's current talk-radio programs? Bill Bodnarchuck, vice-president and general manager of the Metro Radio Group, part of CHUM, who oversees C-100 FM, Q-104 FM, 96.5 Sun FM, and 780 KIXX AM — all of which operate in the Halifax metropolitan area — said the company is still looking at their options. "We're looking at what to do... We haven't made any decisions yet," he said.
There will be some job cuts in the short term, including four in Toronto, said CHUM Group Radio president Jim Waters, but there will be hiring for the new format "and we may end up with more people working with the sports stations than we had previously when we were playing music."
[Excerpted from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 23 January 2001]
Allan Waters started in radio in 1954
In 1954, Allan Waters, then a pharmaceutical salesman, bought Toronto radio station CHUM 1050 AM from a friend in the drug-supply business.
[The National Post, 25 January 2001]
What is CHUM Limited?
York Broadcasters Limited was incorporated on 2 October 1944 under the laws of the Province of Ontario. The Company changed its name to Radio CHUM-1050 Limited on 27 April 1959 and to its present name, CHUM Limited, on 12 May 1967. In 2000, the Company's registered office is located at 1331 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario.
Prior to 1957, CHUM owned only one radio station, CHUM-AM. In 2000, the Company is a major Canadian enterprise operating 27 radio stations coast to coast; six television stations in Southern Ontario and, specialty television channels MuchMusic, Bravo!, Space, MuchMoreMusic and Star! The Entertainment Information Station, broadcasting across Canada, all operating as divisions of the Company. Operating as separate entities, Learning and Skills Television of Alberta Limited operates Canadian Learning Television (launched September 1999) and ACCESS Television; in Quebec, MusiquePlus Inc. (which offers two different French video music services, MusiquePlus and MusiMax) in partnership with Astral Media Inc., corporations of which the Company owns 60% and 50% respectively. In Ontario, the Company has a 70.1% partnership interest in Pulse 24. The Company is also engaged in the environmental background music business in British Columbia, Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces through its division, CHUM Satellite Services (CSS) and, in Quebec through its 75% interest in NovaVision Multimedia Inc.
On 31 October 1997, CHUM Limited completed the exchange of its CTV affiliated stations in the Maritime Provinces, collectively known as ATV, made up of CJCH-TV Halifax, CJCB-TV Sydney, CKCW-TV Moncton/Charlottetown, CKLT-TV Saint John/Fredericton and the assets of ASN, the Atlantic Satellite Network, with BBS Incorporated for certain local television assets in Ontario. These comprised CHRO-TV Ottawa/Pembroke, CFPL-TV London, CKNX-TV Wingham and CHWI-TV Windsor. The transaction also included the sale by CHUM Limited of its 14.3% ownership interest in CTV to Baton for $10,000,000 cash.
CHUM derives virtually all of its revenues from the sale of airtime to advertisers, cable subscription revenue and the sale of its environmental background music service to subscribers. Advertising revenues from the sale of broadcast time are generated at national, regional and local levels. Most national advertising is purchased by suppliers of goods and services provided and marketed throughout the country, while most local and regional advertising is purchased by local and regional retailers who supply goods and services within a well-defined local or regional area. For each of CHUM's radio and television stations, the rate charged per unit of time sold varies directly with the size of it listening and/or viewing audiences and the demand for advertising time. Likewise, the number of units of broadcast time sold by each station varies according to the demand for radio and television advertising time and according to the ability of the Stations to compete in their markets with other commercial communications media. Advertising revenues are also subject to certain limitations imposed by the CRTC with respect to the number of allowable commercial minutes. 79.1% of the Company's revenues are generated from its activities in Ontario.
Radio station programming consists of musical and spoken word material that includes the presentation of musical recordings, news and public affairs, traffic and weather information and commentary, free public service announcements and paid advertisements as broadcast by announcers, newscasters, reporters and commentators. Programming material is created and organized by off-air production and creative staff. Each station has developed a distinctive programming format directed toward a specific audience segment in the community served.
CHUM's television stations' programming covers the full range of television services in Canada including independent, specialty channels (music, arts and entertainment), and educational television services including production and distribution of educational programming. Success in achieving programming objectives is measured by surveys conducted by BBM (the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement) and A.C. Nielsen.
The resulting data is important criteria for decision-making by advertising clients to purchase broadcast time. BBM and A.C. Nielsen surveys consistently confirm the high level of accomplishment by the Stations and the attractiveness of their programming to audiences and advertisers alike.
CHUM Satellite Services (CSS) provides environmental background music services which allows subscribers/retailers to intersperse commercial messages over a music sound system. This division is the Canadian distributor of Music by MUZAK satellite services.
The CHUM Radio Network (CRN) includes over 200 affiliated Canadian radio
stations carrying some or all of the 24 different daily/weekly shows being syndicated and
specials such as The Junos and other shows, with Canadian independent producers, to
encourage the production of Canadian programs.
The Halifax market comprises seven commercial and two CBC-owned, non-commercial radio stations. CJCH-AM is a News and Talk Radio station targeting adults 35 to 64. C100-FM has an Adult Contemporary Hit radio format and appeals to adults 25 to 54.
The radio and television broadcasting undertakings owned and operated by the Company are regulated by the CRTC under the Canadian Broadcasting Act and all such undertakings are licensed by the CRTC. The current Broadcasting Act was proclaimed in force in June, 1991. Under this Act, the CRTC is permitted to authorize licences for terms of up to seven years. Such licences are generally renewed except in cases of serious breach of the conditions attached to the licence or the regulations of the CRTC. Regulations issued by the CRTC require each of the Stations to maintain a specified percentage of Canadian content in its programming. Licensed broadcasting undertakings must also meet technical operating requirements under the Radio Communication Act and regulations thereunder. The activities of CHUM Satellite Services are not subject to CRTC regulation.
Below are particulars of the Company's radio broadcasting activities:
Station Call Letters — Frequency — Location — Licence Expiry Date
CFUN-AM — 1410 kHz — Vancouver BC — August 31, 2006
CHQM-FM — 103.5 MHz — Vancouver BC — August 31, 2004
CFST-AM — 1290 kHz — Winnipeg MB — August 31, 2004
CHIQ-FM — 94.3 MHz — Winnipeg MB — August 31, 2005
CKWW-AM — 800 kHz — Windsor ON — August 31, 2003
CIMX-FM — 88.7 MHz — Windsor ON — August 31, 2003
CKLW-AM — 580 kHz — Windsor ON — August 31, 2003
CIDR-FM — 93.9 MHz — Windsor ON — August 31, 2003
CKKW-AM — 1090 kHz — Kitchener ON — August 31, 2003
CFCA-FM — 105.3 MHz — Kitchener ON — August 31, 2003
CHUM-AM — 1050 kHz — Toronto ON — August 31, 2006
CHUM-FM — 104.5 MHz — Toronto ON — August 31, 2006
CFRA-AM — 580 kHz — Ottawa ON — August 31, 2005
CKKL-FM — 93.9 MHz — Ottawa ON — August 31, 2004
CFGO-AM — 1200 kHz — Ottawa ON — August 31, 2005
CJMJ-FM — 100.3 MHz — Ottawa ON — August 31, 2005
CKPT-AM — 1420 kHz — Peterborough ON — August 31, 2005
CKQM-FM — 105.1 MHz — Peterborough ON — August 31, 2003
CKLC-AM — 1380 kHz — Kingston ON — August 31, 2005
CFLY-FM — 98.3 MHz — Kingston ON — August 31, 2004
CFJR-AM — 830 kHz — Brockville ON — August 31, 2005
CHXL-FM — 103.7 MHz — Brockville ON — August 31, 2004
CKGM-AM — 990 kHz — Montreal QU — August 31, 2006
CHOM-FM — 97.7 MHz — Montreal QU — August 31, 2006
CJCH-AM — 920 kHz — Halifax NS — August 31, 2004
C100-FM — 100.1 MHz — Halifax NS — August 31, 2004
CHST-FM 102.3 MHz — London, ON — August 31, 2006
CHUM Radio Network — August 31, 2006
CHUMTelevision was the first Canadian broadcaster to go online in
1994 with the launch of muchmusic.com and Citytv.com. ChumCity Interactive has packaged and made available to online audiences all of CHUMTelevision's creative broadcast content in popular entertainment and information categories. Fully integrated and supported by our well known TV brands, CHUMCity Interactive delivers digital news and information, music and entertainment, science fiction, science fact, lifestyle and education content to online communities worldwide. CHUMCity Interactive currently operates eight online
destinations: www.citytv.com, www.muchmusic.com, www.bravo.ca, www.muchmoremusic.com, www.spacecast.com, www.star-tv.com, www.clt.ca and www.pulse24.com.
SEDAR profile of CHUM Limited
Fans rally to rescue CJCH morning show
24 January 2001
Less jock, more talk. That's how fans of 920 CJCH's Hotline with Rick Howe are taking word the station is switching from its news-chat format to a 24-hour-a-day sports outfit this spring. Hotline fans want to save the morning talk show.
The station is part of CHUM Radio Group's move to switch its AM stations in eight cities across the country to an all-sports format. The change was announced Monday, January 22nd.
John MacDonald, a Halifax businessman, has decided to use words on the Web to save talk on the air. He's set up a Web page www.es-can.com/talk.html to collect names of people who want to save the Hotline. "This is going to be a major blow for Halifax," MacDonald said yesterday. "Issues get discussed on the Hotline that don't get discussed anywhere else."
The electronic petition had only been posted for a few hours when it had collected 28 names, all wanting to keep the Hotline on the air. Comments will be posted on the site and MacDonald promises to update the page as responses come in.
Some of the comments so far: "It's not just information, it's a public service," argued one Hotline lover. "I don't listen to sports," another Talk Radio fan complained.
MacDonald said most fans of the Hotline think the station should allot time for the popular weekday morning show. "I agree with what people are writing," he said. "I don't think a 24-7 sports station is going to fly."
CJCH vice-president and general manager Bill Bondarchuk said following the announcement of the format switch that no jobs would be lost. The future of the current-events morning talk show appears to be up for grabs, however. Bondarchuk said the talk show isn't part of the plan for the station. Howe wasn't available to comment.
[The Halifax Daily News, 24 January 2001]
John MacDonald's petition webpage
It has come to our attention that the programming at 92 CJCH is changing to an all sports station and we are not happy to hear this. If you would like to show your support for 92 CJCH Talk radio, please sign this petition:
2001 January 25
Software Glitch Costs Sobeys Millions
Sobeys executives were meeting Thursday, January 25th, with analysts in Toronto over a computer software debacle that may have cost the company millions of dollars.
It's believed Sobeys brass were trying to calm the waters as its stock took a beating on news of the problem. Shortly after the TSE opened Thursday, Sobeys stock dropped by 16 per cent. It finished the day at $20.35, down $3.25, about 14 per cent.
The grocery executives also plan to meet as soon as today with the German systems supplier SAP over a database problem that left employees scrambling to ensure store shelves were full early in December.
Sobeys announced late Wednesday, January 24th, it was abandoning SAP's distribution product but will retain SAP's payroll and financial systems. "We do have a meeting set up with them (SAP)," said Stewart Mahoney, vice-president of treasury and investor relations for Empire, parent company of Sobeys. Empire holds 62 per cent of Sobeys. "We will be having thorough discussions on the phase-out... of that (distribution) system."
Mr. Mahoney wouldn't say whether Empire, which invested $89.1 million in the planned companywide software system, would take further action. The glitch affected Atlantic Canadian Sobeys stores and 30 of its Ontario outlets. "We'll be handling this with SAP... and it's privy between... SAP and ourselves. We have made the decision to move ahead without SAP."
Mr. Mahoney said shareholders he's spoken to appear to support the decision to abandon SAP and use another system. "They understand that it's a one-time event."
Sobeys executives told shareholders Wednesday, January 24th, the company will record an after-tax special charge of $49,900,000, or 82 cents a share, ($89,100,000 or $1.47 a share pre-tax), due to dropping the SAP distribution system.
They were hopeful the situation would go over well Thursday on Bay Street.
Mr. Mahoney said he'd fielded about 25 calls from shareholders since the company put out its initial release Wednesday. "We'll be doing what's in the best interest of (the shareholders). I was here... quite late last night. Things have calmed down now."
The country's major brokerage houses reacted Thursday, downgrading Sobeys stock. Merrill Lynch termed it mid-neutral, down from accumulate. CIBC World Markets and Scotia Capital also lowered their ratings to buy from strong buy.
Mr. Mahoney said that for five days the affected Sobeys stores had trouble replenishing stock because of the software problem. Contingency measures and the hard work of staff helped alleviate the situation, he said.
SAP said Thursday, January 25th, it is "surprised and disappointed" at the decision by Sobeys to discontinue using the SAP system. "There also has been clear and open communication between SAP and Sobeys at all levels of the relationship, including the executive level," SAP said in a statement e-mailed to this newspaper. "In fact, SAP America CEO Wolfgang Kemna and SAP Canada senior vice-president and managing director Peter Blackmore are scheduled to attend a previously arranged visit with Sobeys (today)."
SAP brass also alluded to recent shuffling in the Sobeys management structure as possibly being behind any technological trouble. "When companies change executive management, this sometimes results in changes in a company's information technology strategy," SAP's release said.
Former Sobeys CEO Doug Stewart left last fall, while his successor Bill McEwan took over Nov. 25.
"Sobeys' CEO arrived very recently... and many of the senior management team, including the (chief information officer), also changed. As such, SAP regards the very surprising nature of this announcement as disappointing."
SAP spoke of the strong team it has "on the ground" with Sobeys, adding that it worked "hand in hand" to identify and resolve issues. "Particularly those related to the IBM database, an issue specifically identified by Sobeys in its press release. The SAP project team has full confidence in the SAP solution and believes there is a very clear path to resolving current, identified issues at Sobeys," SAP said.
Mr. Mahoney wouldn't say whether Sobeys incurred extra costs because it is leaving SAP. (Sobeys has been using an interim system and plans to announce a replacement soon.) He said the December troubles led to a more in-depth evaluation of the SAP system, and executives decided it wasn't a good fit for Sobeys. "It's important (that as) an $11,000,000,000 (company)... that we have robust, flexible systems which really result in a company being more efficient and productive. That helps all of the stakeholders."
[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 26 January 2000]
Tech Foul-Up Sinks Sobey's Stock
Lawsuits predicted in Sobeys computer kerfuffle
Investors pummelled the stock of Sobeys Inc. yesterday, in the wake of an information-technology foulup that cost Canada's second-largest grocer at least $89,100,000.
By the day's end, Sobeys stock had fallen almost 14 per cent, and some analysts were predicting the computer problems could lead to a flurry of legal actions between Sobeys and German-based international software giant SAP AG.
The share-price drop, by $3.25 to $20.35 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is a sign investors were shaken by the announcement late Wednesday from Sobeys's new chief executive officer, said several stock watchers.
"I don't think investors are going to give (Sobeys) managers the benefit of the doubt until they prove out a bit," said Perry Caicco, a retailing analyst with National Bank Financial.
The computer system to track the flow of groceries throughout the company's 1,400 stores has "been years and $90 million" in the making, said Caicco. "It was meant to have a massive amount of benefit to the company." Instead, Sobeys stated it will take an after-tax charge of $49.9 million in the current quarter to reflect the abandonment of the system.
The decision was precipitated by a massive five-day database system crash in early December, said president and CEO Bill McEwan — who had taken over as head of Sobeys just a few days before the crisis hit. He says the company had to take special measures to supply stores during the Christmas period, and some stores ran out of goods that customers wanted.
But a spokesman for SAP said the company doesn't agree there are serious problems with its software and was "shocked and disappointed" by the Sobeys move. SAP's Bill Wohl said two senior executives were scheduled to meet with Sobeys executives today at the supermarket operator's headquarters to discuss the problems.
One Halifax-based analyst who follows Sobeys said investors won't let management off the hook for the computer woes. Jonathan Norwood of Beacon Securities noted several massive block trades yesterday. "You had institutional investors buying this stock at $27 a few months ago; they're not going to be too happy," he said.
"You have to wonder, whose fault is it? Is it SAP's fault? Is it management's fault? I'm not sure why this thing wasn't tested."
[The Halifax Daily News, 26 January 2001]
Sobeys Stock Sinks on News of Charge
Sobeys Inc. shares fell 13.8 per cent yesterday after the company said it is abandoning a new software system, a move that will cost the company $49.9-million this quarter.
Canada's second-largest supermarket operator announced Wednesday that it will take an aftertax charge of $49,900,000 or 82 cents a share in its fiscal third quarter, ending in January.
Its shares closed at $20.35 yesterday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, down $3.25. More than three million shares moved, almost 40 times the typical daily average.
Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empire Co. Ltd., which holds a 62-per-cent stake in Sobeys, said it will record an aftertax charge of $30,800,000 because of Sobeys' move. Its shares fell 8.1 per cent yesterday, down $2.75 to $31 on the TSE.
Sobeys, which is also based in Stellarton, decided to drop software provided by SAP AG of Germany after a "serious" five-day disruption at some stores in early December.
In a conference call yesterday, Sobeys chief executive officer Bill McEwan said a new chief information officer "will be joining us in the coming very few weeks."
SAP said it was surprised to hear that Sobeys decided to stop using its enterprise-wide systems.
Bill Wohl, an SAP spokesman, said yesterday the company had not been officially notified by Sobeys and was "surprised and disappointed." Mr. Wohl, who noted there are no serious problems with the software, said two SAP executives will visit Sobeys in Stellarton to discuss the situation. "We don't see any reason for Sobeys to pull out the SAP solution," Mr. Wohl said. "We have full confidence it can work very well for Sobeys. There's a strong SAP team on the ground to resolve issues."
Mr. Wohl said it was too early to discuss possible legal action.
Sobey's Mr. McEwan said the SAP software couldn't deal with his firm's large transaction volume. Mr. McEwan said Sobeys has plans for a new system that would provide "better functionality in half the time."
SAP is the largest software company in Europe and the world's leading supplier of inter-enterprise software.
Food industry analyst Perry Caicco of investment dealer National Bank Financial Inc. welcomed Sobeys' plan to abandon the SAP system but said operational problems "run deeper." "On the positive side, Sobeys is finally ditching their cumbersome... SAP system," Mr. Caicco wrote in a report to clients. "However, we believe that the problems run deeper than they appear."
Mr. Caicco said inefficiencies in Sobeys' basic core systems are leading to high operating costs. In addition, he said its food-service distributor, SERCA Foodservice, may be in trouble, and faces a growing challenge from Houston-based Sysco Corp., the largest food-service marketing and distribution organization in North America. But Mr. Caicco, who lowered his 12-month target on Sobeys' stock price to $23 from $27, remained optimistic on the company's outlook. "Despite Sobeys' modest valuation and recent troubles, we have always maintained that it has excellent strategic prospects."
[The Globe and Mail, 26 January 2001]
Sobeys takes one-time $50,000,000 writedown
To phase out SAP software system that failed in December
Sobeys Inc., Canada's No. 2 grocer, has been forced to take a $50,000,000 writedown after a software system developed by SAP AG of Germany crashed before Christmas, leaving many supermarket shelves bare. Sobey's head office is at 115 King Street, Stellarton, Nova Scotia.
The system, which Sobeys is phasing out, suffered a five-day meltdown in early December, Bill McEwan, president and chief executive, said during a conference call. "The bottom line is that SAP was not going to create a sustainable systems solution for this organization," he said.
Sobeys has new plans for an IT solution that will provide better functionality in half the time, with a whole suite of options, he said. The SAP software will be phased out of Sobeys' Atlantic division and its 30 corporately owned stores in Ontario.
Sobeys shares dipped 14% on the news, closing at $20.35 yesterday, down $3.25.
Bill Wohl, an SAP America spokesman, said there are no serious problems with the software and the company is surprised and disappointed with the Sobeys announcement. "We don't see any reason for Sobeys to pull out of the SAP solution... we have full confidence it can work very well," he said. "Sobeys has been an active SAP customer in Canada, and right now there is a strong SAP team on the ground there, working hand in hand with them to identify and resolve issues encountered in the SAP implementation project, particularly those related to the IBM database, an issue specifically identified by Sobeys."
Industry analysts have said retail companies represent some of the most difficult businesses for the implementation of enterprise-wide solutions, given the large numbers of transactions and the wide range of products.
"What appeared to be growing pains with the implementation of the system are in fact systemic problems of a more serious nature," Mr. McEwan said. "We have determined that there is insufficient core functionality in the SAP software component to effectively deal with the extremely high number of transactions in our retail operating environment."
However, Mr. Wohl said it is still too early to analyze the complete picture at Sobeys, including internal issues at the company, business and market conditions, and the full range of technology and partner issues that may have had an impact on the technology project there.
Wolfgang Kemna, SAP America president and chief executive, was scheduled to meet senior Sobeys officials later today to discuss the situation, Mr. Wohl said.
The one-time accounting writedown reflects the abandonment of assets related to the SAP enterprise-wide systems initiative at Sobeys, which has about 400 company-owned stores and 1,000 franchised outlets, making it second to Loblaw in its share of Canada's retail food market.
[The National Post, 26 January 2001]
Sobeys Incorporated, Empire Company Limited...
SEDAR profile of Sobeys Incorporated
Hoovers' profile of Sobeys Incorporated
Wright's profile of Sobeys Incorporated
Federal Competition Bureau profile of Sobeys Incorporated
SAP Canada Inc. website
Founded in 1972, SAP is based in Walldorf, Germany
Investorenkonferenz mySAP Customer Relationship Management
Archived shareholder conference call, in English, Nov. 2000 (1:19:23)
Sobeys tackles growth with massive SAP and DB2 deployment
Sobeys Canada Inc. was incorporated under the Companies Act of Nova Scotia. The registered head office of Sobeys Canada Inc. is located at 115 King Street, Stellarton, Nova Scotia.
Empire Company Limited was incorporated under the Companies Act of Nova Scotia on February 12, 1963 and became a public company in April 1982. The registered head office of Empire Company Limited is located at 115 King Street, Stellarton, Nova Scotia.
Empire, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, owns 34,344,115 Sobeys shares (as of 19 October 1999), representing approximately 62% of the outstanding Sobeys shares.
Sobeys Inc. was incorporated on October 27, 1998 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited under the Companies Act of Nova Scotia. Sobeys Inc. was formed to operate all of Empire Company's food distribution and food service businesses carried on through Sobeys Capital Incorporated, including Sobeys Group Inc.
Source: Ontario Securities Commission
The common shares of Sobeys Canada Inc. began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday, December 9, 1998...
General overview of the Canadian food retail industry, November 2000 — the combined market share of the two major national players, Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Sobeys Inc., exceeds 50%, and each is more than double the size of the next largest competitor...
Sobeys Moves Ahead Without SAP
For immediate release, January 24, 2001
Sobeys Inc. announced today its decision to discontinue further development and implementation of the SAP enterprise-wide software and systems initiative. SAP will be phased out of operation in Sobeys Atlantic Division and 30 corporate Sobeys stores in Ontario. The operations of Sobeys Quebec, Sobeys West, Serca Food Service and the remaining 379 stores in Ontario had not been converted to SAP. The Company has identified alternate software options which will fully meet all the business requirements. The present intentions are to continue to use only the financial statement and human resources modules of SAP software.
Bill McEwan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sobeys Inc. said: "We have come to the conclusion that what appeared to be growing pains with the implementation of these enterprise-wide systems are in fact systemic problems of a more serious nature. We have determined that there is insufficient core functionality in the SAP software component of our enterprise-wide systems to effectively deal with the extremely high number of transactions in our retail operating environment."
In connection with this decision an after-tax special charge of $49,900,000 or 82¢ per share ($89,100,000 or $1.47 per share pre-tax) will be incurred in the current quarter to reflect the abandonment of assets related to the Company's SAP enterprise-wide software and related systems initiative.
Mr. McEwan added: "The systemic complexities of the SAP software, combined with a serious 5-day database and systems disruption in early December led to a comprehensive evaluation of the enterprise-wide software and systems initiative that resulted in today's decision. The 5-day business disruption forced 'work-around' accounting procedures and resulted in unprecedented out-of-stocks in out Atlantic and Ontario corporate stores. All of our employees are to be commended for their extraordinary efforts to maintain service to our customers and refill the distribution pipeline in the weeks following. We are compelled to indicate in conjunction with our SAP announcement that out reconciliation of 'work-around' processes to date currently indicates third quarter operating earnings of approximately 22¢ per share, well below our previously expected results. As this was a significant one time disruption, we remain confident that out fourth quarter earnings will materialize as expected."
Mr. McEwan added: "The Sobeys organization is at an important juncture as we advance to our next stage of development and our firm decision to move forward with alternate, more flexible and adaptable supporting technologies reflects the confidence we have for the great potential for this Company."
Mr. McEwan concluded: "Since joining Sobeys Inc. on November 25 it has become very clear to me that we are very well positioned for growth, we have the committment of the entire leadership team, and I believe the most dedicated and capable employees and franchisees in the industry. We are entering our next stage of development with continued optimism and renewed confidence."
The Company will provide additional detail on a conference call to be held today at 5:00pm EST. Participants may listen to a live audio Webcast of the conference call by visiting the Company's web site located at www.sobeys.ca...
Sobeys Incorporated press release, 24 January 2001
Appointment of Bill McEwan as President and CEO
Effective November 25, 2000
STELLARTON, NS, Oct. 24 /CNW/ — Sobeys Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Bill McEwan as President and Chief Executive Officer. McEwan's appointment will be effective November 25, 2000. He will also be appointed to the Sobeys Inc. Board of Directors and be located at the company's Stellarton Executive Head Office, 115 King Street, Stellarton, Nova Scotia.
David F. Sobey, Chairman of the Board of Sobeys Inc. commented, "We are pleased and excited to obtain a leader of Bill's quality with an in-depth retail food distribution background and a proven track record at this important stage in the continuing development of our company. We welcome Bill and are looking forward to capitalizing on his excellent marketing, merchandising, store operations and general management experience. This background in conjunction with our excellent current executive leadership team will allow us to make further progress in achieving the full potential of our business. We have never been more optimistic about the future of our company and Bill's addition will position us for immediate growth while building a solid foundation for the company's longer term significant development."
Throughout a successful business career of twenty-five years, McEwan has developed strong managerial, operational, strategic planning, leadership and communication skills. Most recently he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Region of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Inc. with overall responsibilities for the company's operations in the Northeastern United States market. Prior to joining A&P he was Vice President, Market Development, Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd.
Concurrent with McEwan's appointment, Doug Stewart, Vice Chairman and CEO will be retiring from Sobeys Inc. as part of the previously announced orderly transition of the key executive leadership of the company. Stewart will stay on for a period of time to assist in McEwan's orientation and to achieve a functional leadership transition. In addition, Stewart will continue to be a member of the Empire Company Limited Board of Directors which is the majority shareholder of Sobeys Inc.
Sobeys Inc., headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, is the second largest food distribution organization in Canada in terms of sales and retail stores, doing business principally under the banners of Sobeys, IGA, Price Chopper, Knechtel and Foodland and operates Canada's only national foodservice distributor, SERCA.
Sobeys Incorporated press release, 24 October 2000
2001 January 26
Canadians watching less TV: StatsCan
Shift to movies, Internet
Canadians are watching less television as they spend more time going to the movies and using the Internet, according to a Statistics Canada survey. Canadians watched television an average of 21.6 hours a week in 1999 — the lowest figure in two decades. The peak of viewership was 23.5 hours in 1988.
Statistics Canada said the decline "may be attributed to the fact that overall attendance at movies increased for the seventh year in a row in 1998-99, hitting a 38-year high of 112,800,000 visits, a 12% increase from the previous year. "Canadians are also logging on to the Internet in growing numbers. In 1999 about 42% of households contained at least one regular user, up from 36% in 1998."
Michael McCabe, president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, said: "I think it's a significant drop — and it's serious."
Bob Reaume, vice-president of media and research at the Association of Canadian Advertisers, said the shift has major implications for TV's future quality. "Advertising is really simple — it goes where the eyeballs are. And advertising pays for content. "You only get to watch good, entertaining television shows because of the advertising," he said. "If the viewers are starting to dissipate," said Mr. Reaume, "I suspect they are going to the Internet... And we'll go there."
Sunni Boot, president of Optimedia, a company that tells advertisers where to place their ads, says the news that viewers are vacating the TV room offers a good prognosis — not a death sentence — for the future of the medium. "Television isn't dead," she said. "If television is in rack and ruin, then tell me why millions of eyes are going to be glued to Survivor this Sunday?"
The largest drop in television-viewing habits was among children aged two to 11. From 1990 to 1999, their viewing plunged 19.3% from 19.2 hours to 15.5.
Men and women aged 18 to 24 both saw the amount of television they watched drop by about 18%, but with different viewing figures. In 1999, men watched 13.8 hours a week (as opposed to 16.3 in 1990), whereas women watched 17.6 hours in 1999 (as opposed to 20.8 in 1990). Women 25 and older spent the most time per week — 26.4 hours — watching television.
Quebeckers, especially francophones, led Canadian television viewing in the fall of 1999, planting themselves in front of the television for 24.7 hours each week.
A majority — 62% — of the programs Canadians sat down for were foreign, most of which came from the United States, roughly proportionate to the numbers generated a year earlier.
Francophones spent 66% of their viewing time watching Canadian programs, compared with 28% of anglophones.
However, Paul Robinson, of Nielsen Media Research, and a competitor of the Bureau of Measurement, which compiled the data, disputed the figures. His figures indicate television viewing has not decreased at all, but rather is on the rise. Nielsen numbers show the average Canadian spent 21.5 hours transfixed in front of the box in 2000, compared to 20.4 hours in 1995.
The survey was conducted between October 21 and November 24.
[The National Post, 26 January 2001]
2001 January 26
Shares Soar Amid Rumours of Takeover at Salter Street
Stock up 36%
Corus mentioned as possible bidder for film house
Takeover rumours swirled around Salter Street Films Ltd. yesterday, with Corus Entertainment Inc. being added to the list of potential buyers.
Over the past three weeks, shares in Halifax-based Salter Street have soared 36% on trading volume far exceeding the stock's daily average as investors speculate the film and TV production company could be in play. Analysts, too, have recently begun to warm up to Salter Street, whose shares traded at close to book value for much of last year, on the strength of its increasing success in the market with productions such as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, These Arms of Mine and science fiction co-production, Lexx.
The latest talk suggests Corus has joined the fray with an offer of $10 a share. Other players said to have made offers include Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. and Astral Media Inc.
Though Salter Street shares have traded flat for the past three days, they have gained $1.60 since January 10th. For the past four sessions, they have have been trading at as much as six times average daily volume
"There are rumours that Salter Street is a takeover candidate, but it is hard to evaluate these rumours, " said Roger Dent, an analyst at Yorkton Securities Inc. "The shares have been trading in quite unusual volume for the past couple of weeks, and that could be attributable to the rumours, or it could be attributable to reality."
Corus, which was formed back in 1999 as a result of the divestment of broadcasting properties held by Shaw Communications Inc, owns and operates a string of radio and television stations in western and central Canada. The entertainment industry, particularly the specialty broadcast sector, is in the midst of a period of consolidation which has already seen the merger of Alliance and Atlantis and the acquisition of Nelvana by Corus. Observers speculated that under current market conditions, Salter Street might make a tempting acquisition target. Said Mr. Dent: "From a specialty broadcast point of view, everyone is looking for specialty assets."
Adding to the glow around Salter Street is the company's recently acquired licence for a television channel that would showcase independent films. The licence, highly prized in the broadcast industry, was awarded by the CRTC in November.
The trouble is, Salter Street has not yet lined up financing to launch the channel, according to observers who added the need for financing might be a strong incentive for Salter Street to agree to be taken over.
Though the company is publicly held, most of the voting shares are held by brothers Michael and Paul Donovan, who founded the company in 1983. Despite some critical success with groundbreaking productions such as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Salter Street has failed to wow the market. Some observers believe that lack of success has caused the controlling shareholders to consider new strategies such as allowing Salter Street to be taken over.
A spokesman for the company declined to comment on the rumoured takeover.
Corus, which also declined to comment, yesterday posted earnings of $13,800,000 for the period ended November 30th, up from $10,000,000 for the same period of 1999. On November 24th, Corus was awarded 18 licences for new digital pay and specialty television services as well as a licence to operate a video-on-demand service. Observers speculated that Corus is under pressure to acquire more production companies so it can provide content to its growing stable of broadcasters.
Also yesterday, Shaw Communications said that it had a first quarter loss of $33,100,000 compared to a profit of $39,900,000 the year before. It blamed the loss on amortization costs because of acquisitions and debt restructuring charges.
[The National Post, 26 January 2001]
2001 January 26
Sprint Abandons Wireless Spectrum Auction
Five bidders remain after 26 rounds
Sprint Corp. has withdrawn from Canada's high-speed wireless auction, leaving five of seven original bidders in the hunt for licences across the country.
The Westwood, Kansas-based long-distance and cellular phone company pulled out after 26 rounds, blaming the high value of bids, especially in metropolitan areas where single licences could go for more than $200,000,000. Sprint said its ability to land a Canadian partner "was not a factor."
3050443 Nova Scotia Limited drops out
The Sprint-controlled entrant, 3050443 Nova Scotia Limited, needed 80% Canadian ownership to satisfy foreign investment rules. Spokesman Dan Wilinsky said a partner could have been found. Sprint, through a holding company, remains in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's auction of airwaves to wireless service providers, with offers reaching a record US$16,850,000,000 after 94 rounds.
A minority shareholder in Toronto-based telecommunications company Call-Net Enterprises Inc., Sprint said it remains committed to Canada and Call-Net, despite observers' claims it has written off more than US$300,000,000 on the Canadian investment.
Mr. Wilinsky would not comment on the writedowns, but said the company has not given up on its plan to enter the Canadian wireless industry as a fifth mobile phone service provider. He said Sprint will consider its options once the auction is complete, likely in mid to late February.
Sprint's withdrawal, along with that of fourth-largest cellular phone company Microcell Telecommunications Inc. last week, leaves Bell Mobility Inc., Rogers Wireless Inc., Telus Communications Ltd., Thunder Bay Telephone and newcomer W2N Inc. still in the race.
Industry Canada is auctioning 40 megahertz of spectrum in 10 blocks, with 62 licences available across 16 markets. Licences in southern Ontario, the Montreal area, Calgary and Vancouver have been hotly pursued, with no offers tendered so far for permits in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern Quebec.
Outstanding bids for the spectrum auction totalled about $839,000,000 late yesterday, with Bell Mobility and W2N the top bidders. The exit of Sprint, which had bid for licences in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, could reduce the prices companies ultimately pay for the licences, analysts said.
[The National Post, 26 January 2001]
What frequencies are being sold in this auction?
The current PCS spectrum structure consists of six symmetrically paired blocks in the frequency range 1850-1990 MHz. This structure, adopted in 1995, has been the basis for licensing PCS systems both in Canada and the United States. The spectrum available in this licensing process includes the C and E block licences. The C block, which is currently a 15+15 of paired spectrum block in the bands 1895-1910 MHz and 1975-1990 MHz for a total of 30 MHz, will be divided into subblocks C1/C1', C2/C2' and C3/C3', each a 5+5 paired spectrum block. The E block will remain a 5+5 MHz of paired spectrum at 1885-1890 MHz and 1965-1970MHz for a total of 10 MHz.
- Licences for all blocks are 10 MHz each
consisting of 5 + 5 MHz symmetrically-paired blocks:
- Block C1/C1' (Auction Label a):
1895-1900 MHz and 1975-1980 MHz bands
- Block C2/C2' (Auction Label b):
1900-1905 MHz and 1980-1985 MHz bands
- Block C3/C3' (Auction Label c):
1905-1910 MHz and 1985-1990 MHz bands
- Block E/E' (Auction Label d):
1885-1890 MHz and 1965-1970 MHz bands
- Block B2/B2' (Auction Label e):
1875-1880 MHz and 1955-1960 MHz bands
- Block B3/B3' (Auction Label f):
1880-1885 MHz and 1960-1965 MHz bands
- Block D/D' (Auction Label g):
1865-1870 MHz and 1945-1950 MHz bands
What is PCS?
PCS stands for Personal Communications Services and is basically a digital wireless phone. PCS phones are often considered as the second generation of wireless phones, with analog cellular phones being considered as the first generation. Most wireless phones today can operate on the digital PCS networks, as well as on the cellular networks. They also operate in different portions of the radio frequency spectrum. Analog cellular services operate at 800 MHz and digital PCS services are offered in both the 800 MHz and 2 GHz portions of the radio spectrum.
How does this auction work?
This spectrum auction is a simultaneous multiple-round auction process. This means that multiple licences are open for bidding at the same time and bidding remains open on all licences as long as acceptable bids are placed on any of the licences. Bidding occurs in a sequence of rounds. The results of each round are announced to the bidders prior to the start of the next round. The auction will be conducted over the Internet, using the latest in Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) encryption and digital signatures to ensure the integrity of the bids.
How do successful bidders pay for their licences?
The department proposes that winning bidders be required to pay for their licences up front. Successful bidders will be required to pay 20% of their winning bids within 10 business days of the auction's close and the remaining 80% within 30 business days of the auction's close.
What happens if a winning bidder cannot pay for a licence?
After the conclusion of the auction, any bidder who has submitted the high bid on a licence but fails to comply with the specified payment schedule will forfeit their right to the licence. A re-auction will take place and, if the re-auction price is lower than the forfeited bid, the bidder will be required to pay a penalty. This penalty will correspond to the difference between the forfeited bid and the eventual selling price. Furthermore, an additional 3% of the original forfeited bid will be charged.
Source: Industry Canada
Spectrum Auction First Round Bids Submitted
16 January 2001
Seven companies ponied up a total of nearly $100,000,000 yesterday, January 15th, in the opening round of Canada's auction for the spectrum used to power cellular phones and other mobile communications devices.
Along with Rogers Wireless Inc. and Bell Mobility Inc., newcomer Wireless2Net Inc. was among the more aggressive bidders, with all three committing the minimum of $9,600,000 required to compete for one of the four wireless licences up for grabs in a southern Ontario region that includes Toronto.
Analysts say Toronto area licences will ultimately sell for more than $100,000,000 each to generate $400,000,000 of the $1,500,000,000 expected from the four-to-six-week auction process.
Rogers Wireless bid yesterday for licences in ten of the country's 16 territories for a total cost of $20,100,000, while Bell bid in five geographic areas, pledging $2,600,000.
Internet streaming audio and video
W2Net, fronted by former Cantel Inc. executive Joe Church and backed by deep-pocketed Itemus Inc., picked up where it left off in the fall of 1999, when it bid more than $30,000,000 for a licence in the Toronto area in the country's first wireless auction. That competition was for broadband to support wireless transmission of corporate data within urban centres, as opposed to the current licensing of spectrum to drive capacity-intensive services for business and consumers, including the streaming of video and graphics over mobile devices.
Along with the southern Ontario bids, W2Net tendered for two licences in the region encompassing Montreal as it seeks to develop a data network linking Canada's top cities.
Forty megahertz of spectrum
The auction for 40 megahertz of high-speed spectrum is being administered by Industry Canada and conducted online. It is intended to help Canada's cell phone companies assemble networks with bandwidth to support new applications — and an anticipated doubling of Canadian cellular subscribers to sixteen million in 2003.
Jeff Leiper, who is tracking the auction for Decima Research in Ottawa, said he expects Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver will account for more than 80% of total auction proceeds, and most of the first-day action was for licences in these cities. Licences in areas such as the Yukon and eastern Quebec drew no bids. Rogers Wireless bid on one of the four Newfoundland licences, along with two in Nova Scotia and one in New Brunswick.
Price increments to eliminate bidders
Under the bidding process, Industry Canada sets an opening price for each licence, with the base amount to rise by increments over each subsequent round. Bidding continues until all but one eligible candidate remains.
As expected, entrants Bell Mobility and Rogers Wireless of Montreal and Toronto respectively are focusing on cities in Western Canada where they lack spectrum. Burnaby, B.C.-based Telus Communications Inc. is expected to bid heavily in provinces east of Manitoba, especially Ontario and Quebec.
3050443 Nova Scotia Limited
Thunder Bay Telephone, controlled by the City of Thunder Bay, Ont., paid a deposit entitling it to bid in Northern Ontario, while Westwood, Kansas-based Sprint Corp.'s entrant, 3050443 Nova Scotia Limited, wants capacity in Canada's three-largest cities, typical of a foreign entrant.
Microcell Telecommunications Inc. of Montreal surprised some analysts with its bids for two Toronto licences, though some suggest the company, which possesses spectrum across Canada, may be among the first bidders to drop off. Microcell bid only in southern Ontario for a total cost of $19,200,000.
Canada's auction of personal communications spectrum is likely to generate only a fraction of the proceeds seen from counterparts in Germany and the United Kingdom, where the windfall exceeded forecasts ten times over. While an auction of five licences generated about C$50,000,000,000 for the British treasury, investors' concerns that lofty fees could inhibit development of services have put a damper on the selloffs in North America.
[The National Post, 16 January 2001]
- As of 14 November 2000:
- All of the issued and outstanding voting shares of 3050443 Nova Scotia Company are owned by 3050444 Nova Scotia Company, a company incorporated under the Companies Act of Nova Scotia.
- All of the issued and outstanding voting shares of 3050444 Nova Scotia Company are owned by Sprint PCS Canada Holdings Inc., a corporation existing under the laws of Kansas, United States of America.
- All of the issued and outstanding voting shares of Sprint PCS Canada Holdings Inc. are owned by Sprint Corporation, a corporation existing under the laws of Kansas, United States of America.
- The shares of Sprint Corporation are widely held and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As of 14 November 2000, no one entity holds ten percent or more of the issued and outstanding voting shares of Sprint Corporation.
Beneficial Ownership Information
Spectrum Auction Bidder Number 0201
3050443 Nova Scotia Company
Industry Canada Opens Bidding for Mobile Wireless Spectrum
15 January 2001
OTTAWA, January 15, 2001 — Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry, today announced the start of the bidding for mobile wireless spectrum.
"Providing additional spectrum offers the mobile wireless industry an opportunity to meet the demands of Canada's rapidly expanding wireless market," said Minister Tobin. "These new ways of delivering communications services will encourage the evolution of third-generation PCS services, unleashing the power of the Internet and making it accessible to Canadians wherever and whenever they choose."
Seven companies qualified to participate in the auction of additional Personal Communications Services (PCS) spectrum in the two gigahertz (GHz) frequency range. There are a total of 62 licences of 10 MHz each available in 16 market areas across Canada.
The bids will be conducted securely over the Internet using Canadian public key infrastructure (PKI) encryption and digital signature technologies to ensure their confidentiality and authenticity.
During the auction, interested parties with web-enabled mobile devices may, at any time, view the latest auction news on a wireless web portal. Users with Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) devices may access the portal at http://sd.ic.gc.ca/a.wml.
This initiative demonstrates the Government of Canada's goal of improving the Canadian information infrastructure and encourages growth in the range of wireless telecommunications services available to Canadians. It will also enable more Canadians to connect to the information highway from anywhere, at anytime.
Additional details on the auction, the bidders and the round results can be found on Industry Canada's web site at http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.
Industry Canada news release, 15 January 2001
Industry Canada spectrum auction website
Auction of Additional PCS Spectrum in the 2 GHz Frequency Range
Auction Bidding Results
Qualified Bidders' Names and Bidding Numbers
Radio Spectrum Management
Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations
Qualified Bidder Deposits
Number Name Deposit
0201 3050443 Nova Scotia Company $121,500,000
0202 Bell Mobility Inc. $132,300,000
0203 Microcell Communications $112,700,000
0204 Rogers Wireless Inc. $112,700,000
0205 Telus Communications Inc. $48,700,000
0206 Thunder Bay Telephone $500,000
0207 W2N Inc. $112,700,000
Source: Industry Canada
Rules Set for PCS Spectrum Auction
28 June 2000
On June 28, 2000, Industry Canada announced the framework for the auction of additional spectrum for personal communications services (PCS). The Department will make available four PCS spectrum blocks of 10 MHz, which will be made available regionally (14 area licenses) for a total of 56 spectrum units. The bidding will be open to all companies that want to enter the process--although Canadian foreign ownership limits will still apply. In a surprise move, the Canadian government decided not to mandate frequency set aside for new entrants. The Yankee Group expects the fall event to be a defining moment for the wireless market structure in Canada...
Yankee Group newsletter, July 2000
2001 January 28
Smart Pavement Helps Snowplows
Saves money too
Workers battling slippery roads have started installing high-tech weather "pucks" under Highway 102 between Halifax and Truro in Nova Scotia.
The $1,500 pucks — so called because they are small, round and black — radio asphalt temperatures, salt and wetness levels to meteorologists in Bedford. The numbers are crunched by supercomputers in Fredericton and Quebec City and beamed back to pagers carried by snowplow drivers in Dartmouth. They are part of experimental new anti-icing techniques designed to use less salt while keeping cars from skidding into ditches.
"Nobody in the world has mastered (anti-icing) yet. It's kind of the Holy Grail that road maintenance people pursue," said Peter Adams, a Transportation Department engineer heading the experiments.
This year, the trials are taking on new importance. A study released last fall says road salt is toxic to small organisms and plants. If that is confirmed by federal Environment Minister David Anderson, provinces might have to reduce salt use dramatically.
Road Weather Information System
The pucks are part of a group of instruments in a Road Weather Information System station being built near exit 5A on Highway 102 — the first on the highway. Five other stations were installed on Highway 101 in the mid-1990s.
All six stations have underground temperature sensors and roadside weather masts. The pucks are flush with the road and can't be felt by motorists. "You don't even know they are there," said Adams.
The system gives an immediate and exact picture of what is happening on the asphalt — information that often can't be predicted by weather forecasts.
The information is fed to drivers of two specially equipped snowplows. Instead of spreading rock salt, the trucks spray water containing dissolved salt. The saline solution sticks to the road, an improvement over rock salt, which tends to bounce into ditches. More important, the solution is applied before black ice or slippery conditions develop.
"The real kicker is if you know what the temperature is going to be, you can put (down) a small amount of salt before the snow arrives," said Paul Delannoy, an Environment Canada meteorologist and an expert on the Road Weather Information System.
Reduce salt use by a third
Delannoy said the method can reduce salt use by a third, and save snowplows from repeat trips. "You will need much less salt if you put it on before a bond is formed between snow and ice and the road," said Delannoy.
Adams hopes the anti-icing method will lead to big savings for the Nova Scotia government, which budgeted $36,000,000 for snow and ice control this year.
Nova Scotia is the only government in Atlantic Canada experimenting with the system, though a privately operated highway in New Brunswick is also doing tests.
Canada is playing catch-up to many American states that have better developed system networks. Minnesota alone recently installed 92 stations — all of them spaced about 20 kilometres apart.
Delannoy said the U.S. has about 1,200 Road Weather Information System stations, while only 100 exist in Canada, mostly in Ontario and B.C. Some Scandinavian countries have networks of the system where the pucks are plugged into speed limit signs. When black ice is predicted, the signs change to show lower limits.
[The Halifax Sunday Daily News, 28 January 2001]
High Demand for Road Salt
The unusually severe snow and ice conditions this winter have put a strain on salt suppliers, including the Canadian Salt Company. Each summer, at its salt mine in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, the company puts thousands of tonnes of salt into a stockpile, in preparation for the high demand which occurs each winter. In November 2000, its Pugwash stockpile held 150,000 tonnes of road salt, but by early February 2001 that was depleted. On January 15th salt haulers began taking salt from another 40,000-tonne stockpile that the company had placed in Mulgrave to supply the Antigonish-Guysborough area. That's expected to last another ten days.
"It wasn't difficult to keep up with demand until the last couple of weeks," Pugwash plant manager Alan Davidson said. "Now we're loading on a quota system." The system ensures all areas of the province get salt, he said. Truckers who arrive at the Pugwash mine are waiting an average of about three hours to get loaded with salt, because "we can only load it as fast as we can take it out of the ground," Mr. Davidson said.
The heavy demand has resulted in the company setting a shipping record for January. It shipped over 175,000 tonnes of salt, 25,000 tonnes more than the previous record set in January 1984.
[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 13 February 2001]
Road Weather Information System (RWIS)
Nevada Department of Transportation
The Nevada system has sensors imbedded into the pavement that send information about road temperatures and conditions to computer systems for analysis. They also collect information about air temperatures, wind speed and the actual detection of rain, snow and ice on the road. Engineers and maintenance workers use that information to determine the best response to current and anticipated road conditions. Each sensor, along with surface pavement forecasts, can determine when the road is going to freeze. This information allows crews to efficiently determine strategies before the storm and reduce unnecessary application of sand and salt, especially in environmentally sensitive areas... Studies of roadway test sections using RWIS in conjunction with magnesium chloride decreased the application of abrasives and salt by 73%...
Clearer Roads at Less Cost
Massachusetts Highway Department
Road Weather Information System in Finland
Finnish National Road Administration, Kouvola, Finland
Road Weather Information System in Sweden
Road Weather Information System (RWIS)
Ohio Department of Transportation
Road Weather Information System (RWIS)
Oregon Department of Transportation
Road Weather Information System (RWIS)
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Road Weather Information System (RWIS)
Iowa Department of Transportation
Optimum Placement of RWIS Stations Across New Jersey
Road Weather Information System
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
How Does the Road Weather Information System Work?
United States Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Protecting a National Forest with New Snow Removal Methods
California Department of Transportation
Road and Weather Data Give Colorado DOT a Jump on Snow Storms...
Colorado Department of Transportation
Better Weather and Pavement Information Mean Faster Storm Cleanup
Illinois Department of Transportation
Anti-icing With Salt Brine
Manual of Practice for an Effective Anti-icing Program:
A Guide For Highway Winter Maintenance Personnel
Use of Road Salt for De-Icing, Vancouver City Council
...A study of accident rates in New York state documented a freeway accident rate of 4.6 accidents per million vehicle miles (MVM) on snow covered roads, compared to a corresponding figure of 2.3 accidents per MVM for wet roads, and 0.6 accidents per MVM for dry roads. A separate study by Marquette University covering five states measured an 88% reduction in accident rates immediately after the application of de-icing chemicals...
Roadsalt and Winter Maintenance for British Columbia Municipalities
New Methods for Reducing Ice and Snow an Highways
British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways
Maintenance Supervisors' Comments on Deicing Mixtures
The city of Kelowna in British Columbia, uses 100% sand on its roads to get the abrasive traction it needs. Dale Beaudry, roads and equipment superintendent, says, "Kelowna has been pre-wetting for the [last] five years. We found this has reduced our sand usage by approximately 30%." Liquid magnesium chloride is what they're using, but they are considering trying liquid calcium chloride...
Bridge Deck Anti-Icing System
Index with links to the other chapters
Go To: History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia
Go To: History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia
Go To: History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia
Go To: History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia
Go To: Nova Scotia History, Chapter One
Go To: Nova Scotia in the War of 1812
Go To: Nova Scotia Historical Biographies
Go To: Proclamations: Land Grants in Nova Scotia 1757, '58, '59
Go To: Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1805, edited by Richard John Uniacke
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