FINALLY. Spring took it's sweet ass time to get here. March 21st there were snowbanks in some areas that were eight feet high. Now some banks are completely gone, or drastically shrunk. But as Spring takes hold, there are some big questions: Will there be flooding? Will city parks look like little lakes? Will all the potholes be filled up? And more importantly, is Sault Ste. Marie ready for another cold and snowy winter? Are we prepared? Can we deal with it?
Before I talk about future winters, let us think about the present. Spring. Is. Here. Which means it's time for construction season. And I expect that this will be the most expensive season in the Public Works department's history. I'd call anyone who says that there's less than a thousand potholes in Sault Ste. Marie a liar. It's likely that there's well over a thousand potholes on streets that haven't been paved in the last five years or longer. The question is, will the City fix them all? And I mean a REAL fix, not a half-ass patch-up. Some streets are so terrible that drivers need to stay in the middle of a two-lane road just to avoid damaging their vehicles. I expect that a large majority of the holes will be filled up, but the city will be deep in debt because of the expenses associated with maintaining the roads.
Will there be flooding? No. The snow isn't melting quite as fast as most years. Water levels will be high, there's no question about it, but we will not see the horrendous flooding from fall of 2013 that left the underpass unpassable and Old Garden River severely damaged. Parks won't flood as badly. I remember when I lived on South Market Street, Sutton park was flooded so badly one year, that I was chest high in water sometimes, and I was 5 ft 10 inches at the time! The city put a new drain in the park and that will of course prevent flooding.
With those two major issues answered, let's look to next winter. Are we ready for another long, white, freezing season? I think that we Saultites are now more aware of the damage winter can cause. Northern Ontario was always known for its terrible winters, but the 2013-2014 one is by far the worst in DECADES. With the right amount of planning, insurance, and tools such as roof rakes, ice breakers, good shovels with metal blades, I think we can manage. :)
About The Author
Matthew Frank Kot was born and raised here in Sault Ste Marie. He first starting writing articles for Soonews.ca in early 2008, becoming the city's youngest columnist and journalist. He then went on to write for Local2, and for a short time had his "MATTer of Opinion" column on SaultOnline.com. Matthew was very involved in the 2010 and 2014 Municipal Elections and wrote several opinion pieces about important issues. In 2011, Matthew started Sault Transit Reform and has continued advocating for a better transit system since then.