Residents protest potholes

A grader is used to smooth out the west service road adjacent to Highway 4 last week. Residents have been concerned as of late with the condition of many streets throughout the community.

A grader is used to smooth out the west service road adjacent to Highway 4 last week. Residents have been concerned as of late with the condition of many streets throughout the community.

by Phil Ambroziak

There is a road to a better tomorrow in Meadow Lake, but in order to get there residents need to be both patient and understanding.

That’s the opinion of city officials in the midst of ongoing concerns about the presence of potholes on Meadow Lake streets. The issue came up at the June 9 meeting of city council when councillor Conrad Read said members of the public had recently shared with him their disappointment with the condition of the service road west of Highway 4, as well as on other streets throughout the city.

“People want the city to provide more routine maintenance (to roads) and that’s a fair statement,” Read said in a later interview.
However, he also noted the city’s public works department has prioritized certain roads it will address when the time is right. These sentiments were echoed by mayor Gary Vidal.

“I have concerns about the condition of the roads myself,” Vidal said. “Some of the roads are challenging – I’ll be the first to admit that. But, in defence of city staff, there hasn’t been enough quality weather days for them to get out and address some of these issues.”

Vidal said paving projects typically occur in July. He also said there is approximately $300,000 in this year’s budget for the permanent repair of priority areas while the regular street repair budget also has funds available for patching other potholes.
As for the service road, the mayor said the best solution right now is to have a grader go over it as regularly as possible. A more permenent fix, he added, would be discussed at a future date.

One resident who would like to see the issue of potholes addressed is Andrea Lehoux. She said, in the last year, she’s had to spend close to $1,000 on vehicle repairs because of damage she believes was caused by city road conditions.

“No matter what road you drive on, you’re constantly hitting potholes,” Lehoux said. “The wear and tear this does to your vehicle is downright annoying.”

While Lehoux believes the city should make its main roads and those in front of schools its main priorities, she doesn’t feel the issue is being addressed at all.

“The problem doesn’t seem like it’s going away or that it’s being resolved fast enough,” she said. “If they are fixing the roads, I’m definitely not seeing it.”

The major capital projects undertaken by the city this year have included the new 9th Avenue lift station and upgrades to the city reservoir.

“I would love to be able to spend all of the money for those projects to repave all our roads,” Vidal said. “From a political perspective, it would be great if we could do that. But, what about all that stuff underground that needs to be addressed? What about all the stuff behind the scenes?”

Read agreed.

“When public works would normally have been out patching potholes, they were still busy thawing water lines to people’s houses,” he said. “What would people rather? Having no water coming out of their taps or having to drive a little slower to make it over some potholes?”

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