Costco or St. John's? Woman frustrated after pothole damages car
Dawn Mercer discovered pothole was on "unassumed road"
A woman whose car was seriously damaged after hitting a large pothole in St. John's has finally discovered who's responsible for the road that it was on.
Dawn Mercer was driving along Aberdeen Avenue when she turned onto an access road at the back of the Costco parking lot on April 5.
"As soon as I turned into the access road, my tire blew," Mercer said.
"I got out of my car and I checked my front tire, and sure enough, there was about a two-inch gash in my tire. My rim was damaged, and I heard a very loud hissing sound. And when I turned around, my back tire was also going flat."
Mercer said she was surprised to see just how badly her car was damaged.
"Extraordinary for hitting one pothole. You would see busting [one] tire in a pothole, and maybe a rim, but to have two tires, two rims, and your front bumper gone — it's pretty big," she said.
Mercer wanted someone to pay for the car's repairs, but couldn't find out who was responsible for the road.
She called the City of St. John's, thinking it was under its authority.
"Unfortunately though, it's a road that they call an 'unassumed road,' and it wasn't within their jurisdiction. And they basically said to me that it probably belonged to the business owners of the area," she said.
11 calls to the city
Mercer said dealing with the City of St. John's was frustrating.
"The initial time that I called the 311 number, I offered my information, I gave my complaint, and the lady didn't even want to hear my name," Mercer said.
"She didn't want to take my number, my address, or anything, and it wasn't until my third and fourth phone call that someone actually did take my name and number."
Mercer said she called the city a total of 11 times, and contacted Costco six times.
Mercer said the business was much more helpful when dealing with her complaint.
"Costco did call me back, and I have to say, they were very forthcoming. The gentleman I was speaking with — the manager there — he was concerned with the hole, he had heard about it, [and] as far as he knew, the road was actually the jurisdiction of the city, but he was going to look into it for me," she said.
Instead of just brushing it off in terms of 'it's not our jurisdiction' and doing nothing about it — at the very least, [the city] could have come up and put a sign there.- Dawn Mercer
It took some back and forth, but it was finally determined that the pothole was on Costco's road.
Mercer said Costco is looking at paying for the damage that was done to her vehicle.The offending pothole has since been fixed.
But she said she's upset with the city's attitude and lack of concern about the issue of safety in the area.
"I'd just like to see the City of St. John's take a little bit more of a proactive approach when people call in with complaints," Mercer said.
"Instead of just brushing it off in terms of 'it's not our jurisdiction' and doing nothing about it — at the very least, they could have come up and put a sign there."