Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/1/2020 (479 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The biggest source of calls and emails to my office, for many years running, has been the state of gravel back lanes in St. Vital.
Despite the fact that gravel lanes are found in all wards, St. Vital has the largest share. To illustrate this percentage, the 10 wards with the fewest gravel lanes, when added together, do not match the total of gravel lanes in St. Vital. All of the lanes in the ward are at least 50 years old. This is truly a north/south issue, as only three of the 80-plus gravel lanes in the ward are located south of Bishop Grandin. I should note that my own home has a gravel lane dating back to the early 1960s. Since 2013, the City has offered the option to residents to split the cost of asphalting their gravel back lanes. Nineteen of these lane projects have been approved by residents in St Vital. My thanks to former St. Boniface city councillor Dan Vandal, and current councillor Matt Allard, for their support of this program.
Given the importance of gravel lanes to the St. Vital ward, immediately after the 2018 election I asked for a review of the City’s gravel roadways policy. This policy dates to 1988 and basically calls for gravel only to be added to "isolated low-lying soft spots", so that the roadway is left in a "passable" condition. The same policy is applied throughout the city. Despite what some residents have claimed, other wards do not get gravel added to their lanes "upon request", nor does the city pave gravel lanes in other wards without charge to the residents.
Unfortunately, after a year-long wait, the staff put forward a one-page report in early January 2020. The report suggests there will be no change in policy and no additional budget, claiming that the current budget is enough to maintain gravel lanes and roads in a passable condition. I think that the policy could be changed to allow for the addition of more gravel, and I requested a month-long delay in the vote on this item, to allow residents to come to City Hall to make presentations about the state of their gravel lanes.
If you are concerned about the state of your gravel lane, please contact my office at 204-986-5088 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get information about registering to speak in delegation to the public works committee.
St. Vital city council ward report
Brian Mayes is the city councillor for St. Vital.