Wet year wreaks havoc on Winnipeg back lanes, prompts safety concerns

From pot holes to puddles – the wettest year on record has wreaked havoc on Winnipeg back lanes.

Residents along Linden Avenue and Hazel Dell Avenue in North Kildonan are dealing with pot holes and standing water in their gravel back lanes.

“I would describe it as a cesspool and a mosquito breeding ground in the summertime,” said Sandra Bode, a resident concerned about the back lane.

She said she has contacted the city five times trying to get crews out to fix the muddy lane.

“On wet days like this, I end up slipping and I get very dirty and I can’t imagine if there’s elderly people here,” Bode said.

The concerns extend beyond the lane. The way the back lane is now sloped leads to water pooling in some residents backyards.

“Pretty much it builds up with ice and over time when it gets warm during the spring when the snow melts really fast, we do get like a lot of flooding issues,” said resident Kieran Lanxon-Whitford. “We’ll have to take out the pump, make sure it’s all pumped out.”

Area councillor Jeff Browaty said he is aware some back lanes are in bad shape right now. He said the problem can be partially attributed to the extremely wet weather this year.

Environment and Climate Change Canada confirmed recent rainfall in Winnipeg has made this year the wettest on record, breaking the previous record in 1962 of 723.2 millimetres.

READ MORE: Winnipeg breaks precipitation record

Browaty said it is an issue that extends to many other parts of the city.

“There were some equipment issues earlier on in the season. My understanding is those have been rectified but they are now sort of triaging the absolute worst lanes,” Browaty said.

The City of Winnipeg said it has received 259 service calls related to gravel back lanes since the start of September.

It notes Bode’s back lane is on the list to get repaired.

“Crews have been working in the area of this location, and this lane is on the list for grading this fall, weather permitting,” a statement from the city said.

Browaty and the City of Winnipeg suggested Bode go through the local improvement program to get the lane paved with drainage – a task she feels isn’t her responsibility. She said she’d like the city to come and dump more gravel.

There’s about 90 kilometres of gravel back lanes in the city of Winnipeg. The city said residents who need a back lane fix should contact 311.

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