CITY councillor Harvey Smith has put a humorous twist on the honorary-street-name practice, renaming some of the inner city's worst back lanes after Mayor Sam Katz and his executive policy committee members.
Smith (Daniel McIntyre) has erected official-looking street signs throughout his ward bearing the name of Katz and the six other EPC members, a not-so-subtle way of driving home the message to Katz and his powerful committee that too many back lanes are in desperate need of repair.
"The back lanes in my ward are the worst in the city," Smith said.
He said he's inviting Katz and the other councillors whose names now adorn back lanes in his ward to visit the area and see for themselves the badly deteriorated lanes.
Coun. Dan Vandal, chairman of public works committee, admitted the city isn't spending enough on back-lane repairs, but added the situation is part of the city's infrastructure deficit.
"The old problem is there are too many infrastructure priorities and not enough money to pay for all of it," Vandal (St. Boniface) said.
Smith said the neglect of back lanes has been going on for several years, adding it is more pronounced in his ward and those neighbourhoods adjacent to it -- Point Douglas, Elmwood, River Heights and Corydon.
"If you want people to live in these wards, you have to maintain them," he said. "There are newer neighbourhoods across the city where money is being spent, but not in these areas."
Smith said the seven back lanes he chose to carry the names of EPC members are examples of the poor condition of all back lanes in his ward.
Two of the back lanes are in Wolseley -- the rear of 134 Walnut St., Fielding Lane; and the rear of 1255 Wolseley Ave., named after Vandal but incorrectly spelled as Vandel Lane.
The other lanes are north of Portage Avenue -- the rear of 630 Spence St., Mayor Sam Katz Lane; rear of 708 Sherbrook St., Browaty Lane; rear of 874 Minto St., Wyatt Lane; rear of 896 Downing St., Pagtakhan Lane; and rear of 320 Sherbrook St., Mayes Lane.
Smith said it cost $800 for the signs and poles and another $800 to have them installed.