Regina may be known for Wascana Park and the RCMP Depot but for the residents that live there, pot holes are just as familiar as those famous landmarks.
Dave Hansen feels that way about his street in Lakeview, a neighbourhood in the south.
Having lived there for 22 years Hansen knows his road has only ever seen the occasional repaving in bits and pieces, little else has been done to it to improve the standard.
“I never use the street, I use the back alley because they did that three years ago and it is in great shape,” Hansen said as he surveyed the street in front of his house.
Describing the condition of his street, Hansen pointed to where the sidewalks are in disrepair. Some sections have fallen lower than the road, other portions have no curb at all, there are areas that have been rebuilt and areas that are brand new.
The street itself Hansen indicated has obvious dipping and broken sections, and where the asphalt had worn away lie pools of water that are unable to reach the nearby drain, which has almost caved in.
Each year the City of Regina ranks residential streets A for excellent, B for good, C for fair and D for poor. Hansen’s street is ranked D.
As yet another construction season passes, Hansen can only hope his street will be on the agenda for next year.
“We see a lot of streets that are being redone that are in bad shape yes, but nowhere near as (bad as) this shape,” Hansen said. “You don’t get to talk to the people who make the decisions that have the ability to do something about it.”
The person in charge of Regina street repair is Norm Kyle, director of roadways and transportation for the city.
“You know I can understand residents’ frustration because there really was a lack of investment for a number of years,” Kyle explained.
Kyle is trying to address that. Each year when the ranking has been complete his crews assess the priorities and then work with other departments and even Crown Corporations to decide which streets get done and when.
“We don’t want to redo a residential road if the water services need to be upgraded or the storm sewer needs upgrading, things like that,” Kyle said.
As well, Kyle must balance the need for maintaining the excellent and fair roads with the work needed on the poor roads.
“If we invested all the money into the poor roads, by the time we get all the poor roads in fair shape, all the good and fair roads would be falling in to the poor category,” Kyle insisted.
In the past few years, residents have paid an extra one per cent on top of property taxes with the money generated being dedicated to the improvement of residential streets.
The city budgeted $8.9 million in 2017 for residential streets, nearly $11 million is estimated for 2018.
Kyle acknowledges the task that lies ahead over the next 25 years is not an easy one. He points out half of the streets in Whitmore Park are ranked as poor and that is not good news for residents like Hansen who are simply fed up.
But Kyle adds consistent investments mean improvements are being made.