Sunday, July 10, 2016

Finishing - the Most Important Part of the Job

At Monday's Executive Committee meeting we were given a list of infrastructure projects that are supposedly complete, including some in my ward.  Unfortunately, administration's idea of what complete means and mine (and the residents who are directly affected) differ.

As an example, the 200 block of Ninth Street East is on the complete list.  This is one of the blocks that was started in the spring of last year, then left in August when the crews were pulled off to pave the parking lot behind SIAST, and they did not return, leaving residents to deal with an unpaved street and no sidewalks throughout the fall, winter and spring.

The work is not yet complete.  On the north side of the street, cement work between the sidewalk and residential walks has not been finished.  And on both sides of the street, broken cement and other debris remains, and boulevards still need soil, levelling and seeding.  How anyone could consider this job complete is beyond my understanding.

I pointed this out, and asked what the timetable was for completing this work.  Apparently, there is  none.

Part of the problem is that the construction piece - the road and sidewalk work - is the responsibility of the engineering department.  The final boulevard completion is the responsibility of parks and rec, which always seem to be behind schedule.  I'm not sure why engineering doesn't finish what is started, and it's even less clear to me why the two departments don't communicate better as to where they are on projects.

And more to the point, I don't know why all of this work isn't scheduled and coordinated between departments.  I realize that things like the weather can wreak havoc with the best plans (I'm waiting for a stretch of good weather so that I can do some reshingling), but that doesn't mean that all attempts at planning should be abandoned.  And it certainly doesn't mean that misleading reports should be presented to council, in the hopes that we'll think that things are going better than they are.

This has got to be one of the greatest frustrations to me in my work as a councillor.  I get many calls and questions from residents as to when they can expect this work to be done, and I'm unable to give them an answer that I have any confidence in.  Administration needs to do a better job, so that members of council can do a better job, so that residents can feel that they're getting decent value for their tax dollar.  Until that happens, my only choice is to keep asking the embarrassing questions, and hoping for better answers.

"Stopping at third base adds no more to the score than striking out.  It doesn't matter how well you start if you fail to finish." - Billy Sunday

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