The Fort Kent Town Council on Monday explored using beet juice to combat icy roads. From left are Joey Ouellette, Scott Pelletier, Dr. John Bouchard, Carroll Theriault, Corey Pelletier, and Suzie Paradis, town manager. Credit: Jessica Potila

Fort Kent town councilors on Monday discussed the possibility of using a vegetable product to treat winter roads in the town.

Councilor Scott Pelletier presented information about using beet juice to treat roadways as a potential cost-saving measure.

According to Pelletier, the town spends $2,400 per load of salt to de-ice the roads.

“With the weather we’ve been getting, the need for salt has increased quite a bit,” Pelletier said.

“Beet juice is being used across in Edmundston and other nearby areas,” Pelletier said.

[Beet juice reduces need for rock salt as de-icer in Canada. But it may not work for Maine.]

Town manager Suzie Paradis said that she will contact Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard to learn more about that city’s experience treating road ways with beet juice.

Also at Monday’s meeting, councilors unanimously agreed to match funding for a Forest Service grant the Fort Kent Fire Department acquired to purchase eight sets of gear designed to be worn during wildfires and brush fires. The gear, which will include helmets, jackets and pants, is especially designed for these types of blazes.

The Fort Kent Fire Department will match the grant funds with $1,520 from the department’s capital reserve account.

This was originally published in the Fiddlehead Focus.