City repairs curb reported damaged 28 years ago — 16 years earlier than scheduled
Target date had been set for 2037 to repair curb damaged by snow removal machine in 1993
Tyrone Bay resident Calvin Hawley finally has some curb appeal back on his street.
Last week a crew hired by the city of Winnipeg repaired some curbs on the St. Vital street Hawley had first flagged as broken to the city in 1993. It was damaged by a city snow removal machine.
The years-long journey to get the work done peaked in 2019 when Hawley was given a number through the city's 311 line to check his file and request —it said his curb would be repaired by June 26, 2037.
That would have made for a 44-year wait for the repairs to be completed.
Hawley was surprised but pleased last week to see a crew actually doing the work.
"Holy you-know-what, they're actually here!" was Hawley's reaction to the arrival of the workers, but says beating the target date by 16 years doesn't absolve the city of an opaque 311 service.
"It's frustrating because you get a response like that and you don't know why, and there is no recourse, no opportunity to inquire about it, because you don't have an opportunity to talk to somebody directly in the department," Hawley said.
Hawley, who is a retired provincial civil servant, tries to be balanced over his criticism of the city's slow pace to do the work, saying bureaucrats work hard and meet many deadlines.
"I don't honestly believe they were gonna wait until 2037, but if they had, we'd be having a very different conversation. There are warts on everything. This happened to be one of them," Hawley said.
The St. Vital resident had praise for the crew that ultimately fixed the curbs on his bay, saying they were done well and quickly and also credited the area councillor — Brian Mayes — for pursuing the public works department to do the job sooner than 2037.
"He certainly is, I think, a large part of why we're seeing the work done now instead of 16 years from now," Hawley said.
Mayes appreciated the compliment, but was at a loss to explain why the work took so long to complete.
"You shouldn't have to wait 37 years — or 42 — or whatever it was going to be. Too bad it took this long, but very pleased we got it done now," Mayes said.
The St. Vital councillor says the city has stopped the process of setting target dates for repair work decades ahead.
The city has also started a process to review the city's 311 service and long wait times for services.
Mayes says he's promised to stop by Hawley's with a drink to toast the curb, and Hawley says he'll drive carefully to avoid damaging the curb he fought so long to have fixed.