Road investment levels under review in Saanich
After one of the rainiest Januarys on record, the war on potholes and deteriorating roads may have to be ramped up in Saanich.
To maintain 570 km of roads, Saanich taxpayers currently spends only $2 million on pavement renewal and $1.86 million for pavement maintenance and other efforts to extend the life of the pavement. Some roads are also improved in conjunction with upgrades to underground utilities.
Some 30 per cent of the 192 km of major and collector roads are considered in poor (19%) or very poor (11%) condition, according to Saanich.
“Considering the cost of labour and materials that’s not a lot of tax dollars to look after a lot of critical infrastructure,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$.
“Quality roads are considered a core service and a critical responsibility of council and municipalities. It’s simply false economy for taxpayers if roads are neglected.”
As for the remaining 378 km of local or neighbourhood roads, there’s no condition assessment due to cost and the priority in dealing with the backlog of existing major and collector roads that need attention, according to Saanich.
“It takes one good jolt from a pothole to wreck your suspension, alignment and tires, or if you are a cyclist, to end up on your head. It also takes one car repair or medical bill for taxpayers to start phoning council and district staff,” Bartlett says.
The $3.86 million total budget for roads excludes sidewalks: Under budget consideration by council this spring is an additional $2 million expenditure which is focused on road safety, sidewalk repairs, crosswalks, bike lanes, and transit stop infrastructure.
By comparison, the City of Victoria, which has 278 km of roads, plans to spend a total of $6.76 million on maintenance and rehabilitation in 2020. That’s up $500,000 from last year.
To see if more money needs to be devoted to roads, Saanich will carry out a pavement condition assessment this year – excluding sidewalks – to help in 2021 budget discussions.
“Based on our most recent data we have an appropriate level of investment to maintain our transportation assets at the current level of service,” says the director of engineering Harley Machielse.
Investing adequate tax dollars in roads helps build the economy (commerce is facilitated), saves money (delayed road repairs and restoration costs more), helps the environment (vehicles save fuel on smoother roads minimizing pollution), creates jobs (money is circulated in the economy), and saves injuries and lives (no explanation needed).
If you find a pothole with its own area code, report it to public works staff at Saanich or get your chuckles with some pothole humour.
Bumpiest-road-in-Greater Victoria Contest – Win a free lunch with the Grumpy$ board – we know now there are free lunches – by nominating your favourite pothole. Send along the exact location and a vivid description of your experience. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends take funny pothole photos to draw government’s attention to poor road conditions in Kaunas, Lithuania, boredpanda.com
Grumpy Taxpayer$, Dec. 2019.
District of Saanich.
Recommendation to include a new investment in road safety in the draft 2020 budget Report to Stannich council, Jan. 8, 2020.
Stan Bartlett, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
John Treleaven, 1st Vice-chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
250.656.7899, cell 250.588.7899