Permanent fix to Winnipeg potholes touted by mayoral hopeful

A Winnipeg businessman who plans to run for mayor says he's found the fix to the city's pothole problem.
A Winnipeg businessman who plans to run for mayor says he's found the fix to the city's pothole problem. 1:56

A Winnipeg businessman who plans to run for mayor says he's found the fix to the city's pothole problem.

Michael Vogiatzakis brought in an inventor from the United States to demonstrate his solution — a machine that mixes asphalt pothole filler with recycled tires at extremely high temperatures.

"Eventually, if we get enough of these units on the street, potholes are done," Vogiatzakis said during Friday's demonstration.

Saverio Marra, who drove from New Jersey to Winnipeg, filled a pothole in front of reporters with a little heat, some rolling of the mix and some finessing.

"You have to have hot contact. It has to be hot when it comes down and goes into the hole," he explained.

Winnipeg is facing one of its worst-ever years for potholes but a businessman with an eye for the mayor's chair says he knows a way to make those holes go away. (CBC)
Vogiatzakis said the machine is widely used in Michigan and would work well here.

“It's simple for the City of Winnipeg to carry around — it's on a trailer — no different than carrying a snowmobile trailer kind of thing and the machinery is hooked to that trailer. It's quick [and] it's efficient,” he said.

The mix the city currently uses to fill potholes is too cold to last, Vogiatzakis said.

The machine he is touting uses a mixture of old, shredded tires as well as lime, cement, and asphalt.

"So basically when he [the inventor] fills a pothole, that pothole is being filled at 340 degrees and it's a permanent fix.  Once he patches that pothole, it's not coming back,” Vogiatzakis said.

May not work in cold, city warns

Jim Berezowsky, the city's manager of streets maintenance, says officials are open to trying out new ideas and methods.

At the same time, he warned that it's difficult in Winnipeg's cold climate to keep a pothole-patching mixture hot.

"One of the constraints in the city is running around with technically a mini-hot-mix plant that would be effective in our climate through the winter season," he said.

The city is working on similar technology with the University of Manitoba, Berezowsky said.

Vogiatzakis faced some non-pothole-related questions on Friday, such as whether he had spent money on his media event. City election rules forbid campaign spending before the beginning of May.

But Vogiatzakis insisted that he didn't pay for any part of the event — not even the sound system, the signs or Marra's appearance.

When asked if they were "gifted" to him, Vogiatzakis replied, "Not even gifted to me; just brought here."

The mayoral hopeful was also grilled about his numerous court appearances on both criminal and civil matters in recent years.

"Can I tell you something? Pencils have erasers on them for one reason: so you can erase mistakes," he said.

"In the last 15 years in my life, when I became a funeral director, I've changed my life."