City councillor paints the town white over potholes
Published Sunday, April 16, 2017 2:48PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 16, 2017 7:20PM EDT
Residents of the Cote-Des-Neiges-NDG borough normally see red when it comes to potholes but thanks to a city councillor, they’re now also seeing white.
Jeremy Searle has been out for a week painting white outlines around potholes in the area in an effort to draw attention to the sheer number of craters in the roads.
While Searle has done similar projects in the past, he said the tipping point for him this year was several constituents being outspoken about this displeasure.
“I think it was probably something to do with three or four people calling me about their broken axles and the fact they can’t drive around NDG anymore without going boom-budda-boom-budda-boom,” he said. “I want people to know we can do something about it.”
Searle had harsh words for Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, CDN-NDG Mayor Russell Copeman and Leionel Perez, the city councillor in charge of infrastructure, who he said have not been supportive of his efforts to raise awareness of the pothole problem. He reserved most of his ire for Coderre, who he said was using $300 million on the upcoming celebrations for Montreal’s 375th anniversary while roads are in shoddy shape.
“Obviously everybody in the district loves this because they pay their taxes. The message I want is people should be really, really very angry at this. People should not tolerate this.”
While Copeman was out of town for Easter and could not be reached for comment, he took to Twitter to dismiss Searle’s painting as a “recycled publicity stunt,” an accusation Searle did not deny.
“Of course it’s a publicity stunt,” he said. “I’m an elected representative. I’m supposed to draw attention to public issues. How can I do that without keeping the public informed?”
A spokesperson for Copeman said the borough spent $15 million on road repairs in 2016 and plans to spend an additional $20 million in 2017.
Still, Searle insists not enough has been done. He said the manpower is available but a lack of funds has kept any real progress from being made.
“The good news is public works are amazing. They want to do the work. They’ve got the men and women and the trucks, they’ve got everything.”
The councillor said he will continue painting until the problem is fixed. Until then, he assured motorists their cars won’t get stained as the paint he uses is water soluble and biodegradable.
“When the roads get fixed, I don’t want there to be a sign of this left over,” he said. “I’ve spent several hundred dollars now on the paint and then the rain washes it away and I do it again.”