Wolseley resident agape as city tears up back lane soon after hole is repaired

By | August 26, 2020

The City of Winnipeg says it wasn’t on the same page as Manitoba Hydro when it tore up a back lane that the utility had done long-awaited repair work on only a couple of weeks earlier.

Brad Cartman watched the whole saga play out from his back window.

Cartman, who lives on Clifton Street in Wolseley, is thrilled his back lane is finally being replaced, but can’t help wondering why he and his neighbours had to wait months for a pavement repair, only to have the city tear out the work just two weeks later.

Cartman and some other neighbours along the back lane between Telfer and Clifton Streets flagged a hole in the pavement to the city’s 311 line several months ago.

The hole — about 60 centimetres in diameter and 20 centimetres deep — was driving hazard. 

Cartman says it took “months and months” before a crew arrived, although he didn’t know who the crews worked for.

“They started about two months ago and puttered away for a few days, [then] take off for a few days, then come back, and eventually they did finish it up about two weeks ago,” Cartman said.

Brad Cartman says crews of up to five workers “started about two months ago and puttered away for a few days, take off for a few days, come back,” before finishing earlier this month. (Trevor Brine/CBC )

Watching through his window, Cartman was a little shocked by how long and how many crews it took to fix a relatively small hole, but got a bigger surprise late Thursday.

“They tore it all up — everything they replaced,” Cartman told CBC News.

Cartman says he and some of his neighbours were surprised and a little confused because they’d all known since June the back lane was slated to be torn up and replaced.

“We got we got a letter from the city giving us well in advance notice that they were going to be starting this project,” he said.

He wants to know why it took so long to fix the hole in the first place — but especially why anyone would bother, knowing the lane was to be ripped out anyway.

“Isn’t it just a matter of an email or a phone call saying, ‘Hey, maybe you don’t want to dig that hole up — we’re going to start replacing the whole back lane in two weeks?’ Doesn’t really make sense,” Cartman said as he picked up a chunk of concrete.

“Like you can see — this is brand new concrete. This was just poured,” he said.

‘Not aware of the timeframe,’ city says

City of Winnipeg public works spokesperson Ken Allen says Manitoba Hydro had the lead on doing the repairs and acknowledged there wasn’t much communication about it between the company and municipality.

“Hydro completed a utility cut repair in the back lane, and as such, Hydro is responsible for repairing the pavement. In this situation the City was not aware of the timeframe for the Hydro pavement repair, which was completed independently prior to the back lane renewal project being undertaken,” Allen wrote in an email.

CBC News contacted Manitoba Hydro about the repairs on Monday morning, but the utility had not provided a response as of Tuesday night.

“This concrete was just poured,” Cartman said last week, after the recent repair was torn up. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

In an email, Daniel McIntyre Coun. Cindy Gilroy said she agreed with the residents — what they saw is “frustrating.”

“They have had to deal with a … hole and multiple fixes. This impacts their movements throughout the area,” Gilroy wrote.

“I know that this back lane has needed a renewal. I’m glad to see it’s finally being done.”

The chair of the city’s infrastructure and public works committee, Coun. Matt Allard, was unavailable for an interview.

Cartman told CBC News there may be a simple solution to the challenge of getting the city and utility companies on the same page for construction projects.

“Why don’t they hire a kid from Red River College to build a web page so everyone can monitor what’s being done?” Cartman said.

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