A Winnipeg couple says a broken sewer grate in their neighbourhood was dangerous for children playing in the area, but city staff told them it would take up to 124 days for someone to check it out.

Denny and Ainsley Black say they were closely watching their young children outdoors after discovering the gap — about 48 centimetres long and almost 18 centimetres wide — in the grate on Westwater Drive in Royalwood.

Denny and Ainsley Black

Denny and Ainsley Black say for now, all they can do is teach their two young sons not to play near the broken grate. (CBC)

"My personal concern would be that one of my children could fit down there," Denny Black said Thursday morning.

"I know that I was walking along and didn't see that, I'd probably go right up to my thigh."

The grate in question was fixed by Thursday afternoon, hours after Black told CBC News about his concerns.

Ainsley Black said she also noticed the broken grate while playing with the children.

"I know that they're very curious boys and whenever they see one of these anyways, they come running to put rocks down it. So that's kind of concerning," she said.

Close call

Denny Black said he had a close call on Wednesday night, after he parked his truck on the street.

He said he was taking his sons, aged two and four, out of the truck to go to a nearby park when he almost stepped in the broken sewer grate.

"I just don't want somebody to get hurt, and it just seems like the longer it sits here without being fixed, the greater the chances of somebody becoming injured," he said.

Repaired sewer grate

The broken grate on Westwater Drive was fixed by Thursday afternoon, hours after Black told CBC News about his concerns. (Submitted by Denny Black)

Black said he called the City of Winnipeg's 311 service line later that night, and a representative emailed him back saying, "I have notified the Water and Waste department and someone will investigate within 124 days."

"It seems like kind of an odd number, a really specific number, but 124 days — doesn't sound like it's going to be addressed anytime soon," Black said.

A Westwater Drive homeowner told CBC News that he also called 311 to report his concerns about the sewer grate, but gave up after being told to call other city departments.

Area residents say the sewer has been broken for weeks.

A city spokesperson said the standard response time for a request regarding catch basin damage is 124 days, "unless the report to 311 indicates that the damage is dangerous or a risk to public safety."

"In situations where the damage to a catch basin is considered dangerous or a risk to public safety, our staff will respond quickly to either secure the area until a repair is made or undertake the repair immediately," the spokesperson stated in an email Thursday afternoon.

The city says it would repair the broken grate in question, or at least secure the area around it, "as quickly as possible."

Within an hour of the city's email, Black sent CBC News a photo of the repaired grate.