Ponoka town council discussed a couple of spring nuisance issues that tend to plague municipalities at this time of year during its virtual meeting on May 26, namely potholes and mosquitoes.
Potholes in town were discussed during the CAO’s report to council, with several councillors speaking up about problem roads they’ve noticed or been spoken to about.
With the wet weather, and frost still coming out of the ground, roads are being disrupted, in town as well as in the county, says Mayor Rick Bonnett.
“It is a significant year for those problems.”
Coun. Carla Prediger says the issue of potholes is one that she has been “bombarded” with, including from people who want to send a bill to the town, because an area is done and then the holes return.
“I’m curious if we actually have a formalized plan to fix the potholes,” said Prediger.
Prediger mentioned the road by Poplar Grove as being particularly bad for potholes.
“I had the unfortunate mistake of driving down the road by Poplar Grove and I know this has been a contentious issue historically,” she said.
Tim Schmidt, general manager of planning and infrastructure, says the town does have a pothole program.
Crews have been out, although they had been reallocated to dealing with some frost boils this year.
The crews are going to be back on potholes and will be road patching, paving and crack sealing town-wide, as long as it’s not raining, for the next few weeks, he says.
The segment of road next to the Poplar Grove subdivision is a priority in the paving program for 2020, and they are looking at a sealing and concrete stabilizer to clean up that stretch of road.
Coun. Kevin Ferguson brought up the four-way stop by the 7-11 as a problem area saying, “There’s potholes galore around there.”
As the one road is Hwy. 2A, potholes in that spot may be the province’s purview as well.
The town has identified some priority areas for paving, including the four-way stop on Hwy. 53.
Bonnett added he’s received several calls about 38 St. which was done last fall, but the potholes have returned and is now “almost impassable.”
Schmidt responded that an onsite inspection of that area has been conducted and it was determined that is was not due to contractor failure but, “an act of God.”
Crews are busy working on frost boils and will start working on potholes as soon as possible.
“We do ask that people bear with us a little bit while we deal with these significant issues this year.”
Coun. Teru Underhill asked administration if there is any kind of emergency plan regarding keeping mosquitoes under control, as she says they are so bad, she can still hear them when she is out walking with her ear buds in.
“It’s concerning,” said Underhill.
“My child calls it the mosquito apocalypse.”
Schmidt answered he’s reached out to the operations group and they do have a small budget and some contract services that they may look into using this year.
“We’re going to see what we can do, I just don’t have a specific answer for you yet.”
Coun. Ted Dillion remarked that the mosquitoes are “starting to use the airport to land right now.”