City must work to end infrastructure insanity

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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Moose Jaw has an infrastructure problem.

A paper boat floats in a pothole filled with water.

That’s the simplest way to put the situation that has unfolded in the Friendly City over the past several months.

Residents going weeks without running water.

Residents damaging their vehicles because the ruts on the roads are causing accidents.

Residents dealing with flooding of their streets and their homes because the city’s catch basins aren’t prepared to deal with the melt.

Residents being forced to play Journey to the Center of the Earth while passing through downtown intersections — Main and Athabasca comes to mind — because there’s too many potholes to be outright avoided.

These are just a small sampling of the stories we hear from the community at the Times-Herald.

Sometimes they’re issues we experience ourselves.

In fairness to the city, some of these problems are new, or at least more prominent than they have been in the past.

While it isn’t atypical for a handful of homes to go without water for a few days, for example, this year’s exceptionally cold temperatures have combined with the exceptionally old service lines and water mains and resulted in freezing — a problem Duane Grado, the city’s public works manager, has told the Times-Herald on more than one occasion he has never seen on this scale during his time with the city.

But potholes and ruts and catch basins seem to be perennial issues.

Every year, Moose Javians complain in droves — via social media, via letters to the editor, via whatever medium suits them most — about the city’s service shortfalls.

Every year, they are told that issues are being addressed as the manpower and equipment becomes available to address them.

Maybe that’s the problem.

Maybe the city doesn’t have the equipment and the manpower to deal with all of the issues.

In fact, when it comes to maintaining watermains and responding to an influx of funding from city council, Grado as much as admitted the city will have to contract out some of the work to get it done.

Moose Jaw, he suggested, simply doesn’t have the crews to meet the demands placed on it in lockstep with the new money.

Contracting out these services may be essential to getting these problems addressed, and getting them addressed is vital.

After all, the longer infrastructure is allowed to age without any maintenance or replacement, the more fragile it gets.

In the meanwhile, in Moose Jaw, the things that go bump in the night aren’t monsters.

They’re vehicles hitting potholes their drivers couldn’t see from all of the water that hasn’t run off due to frozen or plugged catch basins.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by its editorial staff.

Organizations: Times-Herald, Center of the Earthwhile

Geographic location: Friendly, Moose Jaw

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