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What to do if you see a pothole in Sudbury

Mary Katherine Keown

By Mary Katherine Keown, The Sudbury Star

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The city's pothole problems are no secret. Last month, The Star shared with readers the story of Eric Grenon and a petulant pothole on Maley Drive. Now, the City of Greater Sudbury has responded.

Rob Walz, co-ordinator of insurance and risk management, says the city assesses claims on a case-by-case basis.

"When a citizen files a claim, they fill out a report form and it's sent to our office," he said.

From there, claims are forwarded to an insurance adjuster and an investigation ensues.

Successful claims are contingent on notice -- if the city was unaware of the damage, it is not liable.

"We have to know if we had notice -- for any municipality, if we don't know that there was damage on the roadway, we can't get out and fix it," Walz said. "Once we have the notice, we have to get out and fix it in a specified amount of time. As long as we meet that time period, we've done our duty."

He cannot discuss specific claims and would not confirm whether Grenon filed, but told The Star the city repairs roadway damage once residents have made complaints, usually via 311.

Walz said that under the Municipal Act, the city has a certain amount of time to repair damage, based on the classification of the roadway.

"If there is damage on a roadway and someone calls into 311, that call is registered and date-stamped. That's when the clock starts," he said. "From that point onward, we'd have an amount of time to effect repairs, and as long as we've done that, then we've done our job and met the requirements of the Municipal Act."

If a municipality repairs the damage within the allotted time, Walz said it is not liable.

"Say, for example, someone calls in on a Monday and we repair the damage on Wednesday, that period is still within the time allowed according to the Municipal Act," he said. "Certainly, someone could have hit the pothole later on the Monday or the Tuesday, but the city (wouldn't) be accountable."

Walz advised all residents to call 311 to report pothole sightings.

The city may not have helped Grenon, but readers were outraged by the situation. They sympathized with him and one caller even offered some advice.

"Grenon should take them to small-claims court -- in front of a judge -- and explain the damage done to his car," he said. "My niece did it. She busted her front end. It was an older vehicle and they gave her a $3,700 settlement. That is baloney that they can't be sued. That's what he's gotta do."

maryk.keown@sunmedia.ca

705-674-5271 ext. 505235

Twitter: @marykkeown


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