A special committee of Cork County Council is to look at providing free salt/grit to residents' associations after a number of councillors said it was unfair to charge for it.
It currently costs €150 for a salt bin and an annual charge of €70 to have them filled.
There was widespread support for the motion which was tabled by Cllr Seamus McGrath, who said residents' associations are doing the local authority a favour by salting roads the council is often unable to get to and therefore they should not be charged.
He also said the recent response by the council to snow and icy conditions was not up to scratch, especially when the N28 (Cork-Ringaskiddy road) had been impassable until midday after snow hit the region two weeks' ago.
He said that while the local authority had to beef up its response to keeping major roads open, residents' groups could be drawn on to help gets cars moving in their areas.
In a written reply to his motion, Padraig Barrett, director of the council's roads and transportation directorate, said that the charges already represented 'substantial subsidisation'.
Mr Barrett said as such it was not proposed by his department to provide the salt bins or the salt free of charge as no funding had been provided for doing this.
However, Cllr McGrath and other councillors said this should not be the case.
We should look to provide salt bins and salt free of charge, especially if we're not in a position to salt these estates ourselves. This is the least we should be doing, especially for hilly estates.
Cllr Mary Rose Desmond said residents' associations are doing huge work on behalf of the council and they should be supported.
“It's a modest proposal and it isn't going to be a huge cost. This should be done, especially as residents are paying the Local Property Tax,” Cllr Eoghan Jeffers said.
Cllr McGrath had also asked about any liability that might accrue for residents' associations carrying out such work.
Mr Barrett said there was no liability providing that they salted roads in a safe manner.
Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy, said the proposal would be put to the council's roads and transportation special purposes committee for deliberation.
Clr McGrath asked that they act speedily and report back to the full council as soon as possible.