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Province warns Holyrood, ‘Don’t fill that pothole’

By Mark Squibb/January 20, 2022

Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie says that when it comes to fixing potholes in the main road, the town’s hands are tied.

Goobie raised the issue during his opening remarks at last week’s council meeting.

“As many of you are aware, we’ve had a lot of discussions, on social media and whatnot, regarding a fairly big pothole by the Irving on the southside, and even though it’s a small problem, it turned out to be one of those issues that take a lot of time in order to get it resolved,” said the mayor. “I was on the phone with the CAO (chief administrative officer Gary Corbett), because I was trying to find out if our own staff could go down and do something to mitigate the problem. When it was brought to my attention, I actually went down there and took some pictures. And while I was there, there were a couple of cars that drove over the pothole, and I said, ‘Oh my, you’re going to have problems with your vehicle.’”

Goobie said he has heard of folks whose vehicles have suffered bent rims and busted tires at the hands of the Route 60 pothole.

“So, I phoned the CAO to see what our own staff could do as a temporary measure to try to mitigate the problem to the best of our ability.” Goobie said. “But unfortunately, we were advised, and I think this is important for the public to understand how this whole thing works in dealing with the province, that Route 60, as we know, is a responsibility of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. So, they have clearly advised us that it’s not our responsibility and we are not to try to go down and fix those problems, as bad as they may be. Because if we do try to mitigate the problem by putting in asphalt or a cold patch, as you would use this time of the year, that if anything were to happen as a result of that, that we could actually assume liability. So they strongly warned us not to do that.”

Goobie said given the seriousness of the situation and the safety hazard posed by the pothole, Corbett phoned the department again, and the department did grant the town permission to fill the hole with sandbags. It took six sandbags to fill the hole, the mayor added.

Given the weather conditions of this winter, Goobie said he expects more potholes to develop over the coming months.

“I think that we have to reach some common ground with the Department of Transportation that when these problems arise and it’s brought to our attention that, without having to pick up the phone and get ahold of somebody from the Department of Transportation and seek permission to do certain mitigation methods, that we know what we can automatically do,” he said. “And I think then that we can have a couple dozen sandbags on the ready so that when staff are driving around and they identify potholes that are starting to become serious, they can mitigate that by putting these sandbags into the potholes. Because I can tell you, as we all know, and I drove around today, there’s more and more potholes getting bigger and bigger, so it’s going to be an ongoing problem.”

Goobie said he has phoned MHA Helen Conway-Ottenhemier about the situation.

“She advised me the other day that she had upwards of six or seven calls from different communities experiencing the same thing,” said Goobie. “The Department of Transportation only has so many resources to go around. They can’t be everywhere all the one time.”

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