Fix our streets!

Gravel thrown from a cold-patch

Our council is responsible for the decisions to maintain, fix, upgrade, rebuild, and repair our streets and sidewalks. But if you drive around town, you can easily find streets that have not seen any significant work for decades — some in the west end for at least 30 years; others much longer. Look, for example, at the crumbling block of Third Street between High and Walnut Streets.

We need a new council that focuses on the things that matter to residents: including the streets we use daily.

Throwing a shovelful of cold-patch into a pothole now and then does not count as a repair: it’s simply a band-aid reaction that doesn’t last. It’s temporary and doesn’t resolve the underlying problem(s) with the decaying or subsiding road.

If you drive around Collingwood, I’m sure you’ve seen many cold-patch “repairs” that get filled one month and weeks or a few months later are potholes again. Tar-coated (bitumen) gravel ends up on the edge of the road. And they get filled with cold-patch again. And again. And again. It’s especially bad in winter. As one site notes:

There is a basic problem with repairing roads during the winter months using cold patch asphalt mix: Most formulations don’t work very long, with the same potholes reappearing in a month or two after the material is applied.

I understand why cold-patch is used, and that our Works Department can’t do major repairs on every street every time a pothole appears. A temporary solution is necessary until proper repairs can be initiated. I also understand why repairs are sometimes delayed until collateral work (on water and sewer lines) can be done at the same time. But there are many streets where our taxes would be better used to properly repair our roads rather than continually making these short-term fixes. Surely it would be less expensive in the long run.

Major transportation corridors like High Street, and streets near essential services like the fire hall, hospital, and police building, should be upgraded and regularly maintained. But our side streets should not be ignored. Town staff should drive throughout the community during or just after heavy rain to help them identify problem areas where streets flood.

Also, some sidewalks used by parents taking their kids to school are subject to flooding. This forces pedestrians to walk on the street when that happens. In winter, following a thaw these large puddles freeze, making them treacherous liabilities for anyone walking along them.

I believe that taking care of the town’s basic infrastructure — roads, sidewalks, sewers, water and wastewater systems, bridges, parks, and trails — should be one of council’s top priorities. Not a secondary consideration.

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