Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Real options available to tackle gravel back lanes

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In St. Boniface and in St. Vital, gravel back lanes are a reality.

Throughout the years, I’ve received many calls from residents requesting help and financial assistance in order to address a situation that could not be maintained for much longer. Property was often damaged, dust was a real concern and previous solutions were not effective.

As former Chair of Public Works for the last few years, I have worked to adopt a new policy that would bring real solutions to our unsightly gravel back lanes. I’m happy to announce that new options will now be available in the 2014 budget year:

• Asphalt lanes are now eligible for local improvement initiatives, as a cost-effective alternative to concrete.

• The city will cost-share up to $1 million per year for asphalt local improvement initiatives on a first come-first served basis.

• As an immediate short-term solution, an additional $80,000 will be added for routine gravel back lane maintenance in 2014, including regrading, upgrading drainage and installing new gravel.

While these options are limited, they can seriously alleviate the financial burden placed on residents deciding to go ahead with a local improvement initiative. A 60% resident buy-in is still required, but the end cost can be significantly reduced. In fact, a back lane repaired with asphalt costs less than half the price of paving with concrete and will last almost just as long.

Given that the City of Winnipeg currently has 87 kilometres of gravel back lanes and almost half (47%) are located in St. Boniface and in St. Vital, this could provide a window of opportunity to repair our local infrastructure and improve our neighbourhoods.

Even though the first come-first served $1 million cost-share option has been assigned as a six-year program, I urge all residents to actively get organized as soon as possible in order to be able to benefit from these alternative solutions.

If you require any more information about the local improvement process, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 204-986-5206 or email dvandal@winnipeg.ca

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