Wednesday, January 23, 2013



Pothole Patronage

Here's what to do if your vehicle is damaged

Voice/Staff/Web images


ast week, while hot on the trail of a news story at 3 A.M., I pulled over to the shoulder on Hope River Rd. and hit a pothole near Killarney Dr.

The divot was completely hidden because water had filled it level with the pavement, and it was dark so I was a sitting duck to take a hit.

It was a pretty big bump. I didn't think anything of it until the following day when I realized my old faithful car was making a brand new noise.

I had a mechanic look at it, tell me what was wrong and then get a repair estimate, which came to over $300.

Someone mentioned that City Hall may have a fund for damaged vehicles due to potholes, and the staff are always helpful, so I contacted them about it.

Paul Whitehouse, Purchasing/Risk Manager Corporate Services & Purchasing, said in an e-mail that the City of Chilliwack doesn't pay for vehicle damages if they hit a pothole.

"Under section 288 of the Local Government Act, the City has immunity against certain nuisance action and are not liable for damages that arise directly or indirectly out of the breakdown or malfunction of a sewer system, a water or drainage facility/ system, a dike or a road," he said.

"Although we do not insure the travelling public for damage caused to their vehicle when they travel our roads, we do the best we can with the resources available to ensure they are as safe as possible," concluded Whitehouse.

He went on to say that if the City receives a pothole hazard complaint, they usually repair it within 2 days.

"We have a crew of three people who do nothing but patch potholes year round," he said.

As long as it's not snowing or frozen, the crew is out filling holes, however the supply of hot asphalt is difficult to get at certain times in the year.

"When hot mix is not available to us we use cold mix asphalt which is not as good a fix as the use of hot mix," he said.

I wouldn't even think to complain about the state of the roads. Public Works has a team that do nothing but repair holes and they have their hands full as it is.

People can report a pothole, or other road hazard, to the City Public Works at 604-793-2810.

Homeowners can also be proactive and temporarily fill in a hole until City crews get a chance to patch it.

If you damage your car, you need to make a claim through ICBC for repairs. However, in some cases, a lower repair bill in combination with a higher deductible makes filing a claim redundant and a waste of time.



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