Road maintenance complicated by pothole preservation society
Edits: Marta Kierkus & Adam Gibbard
A new City of Ottawa program that looks to identify the worst potholes in the city is facing opposition from a cultural conservation group that wants to preserve these potholes as historical landmarks.
The new city program, dubbed Spot the Pot, was unveiled to coincide with Ottawa’s annual pothole season, which begins as soon as the snow melts and lasts until the following winter.
“Some years the roads are so bad there’s no point weaving maniacally in and out of traffic lanes to avoid the potholes. They’re everywhere,” said one city official.“So we came up with Spot the Pot to help identify these road conditions by encouraging people to upload photos online and direct city workers towards the most dangerous areas of the city.”
However, not all Ottawa residents are happy with the new program. Critics have said that it does nothing but devalue Ottawa’s oldest and most prominent landmarks.
An organization called Potholes Forever is actively protesting Spot the Pot. The cultural conservation group is dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of maintaining potholes in Ottawa.
The group says potholes are a local tradition that stretches back as far as the early 20th century, and that potholes lend the nation’s capital ambiance and character.
“We object to people who want to label potholes as being ‘dangerous’ or ‘life-threatening road hazards,’ Mike Moore, president of Potholes Forever, said in an interview with the Tomato.
“These road inconsistencies are naturally beautiful and we feel that programs like Spot the Pot diminish the variety of potholes we have here in Ottawa, which is unrivalled.”
Moore gave the example of a recent pothole discovered near the Canadian Tire Centre that resembles the Hamburglar.
“I mean, with such miraculous appearances, how can Spot the Pot truly capture the essence of the pothole phenomenon here in Ottawa? Potholes like the Hamburglar give people hope—even Sens fans.”
In order to bring awareness to the pothole phenomenon, Potholes Forever has petitioned the Guinness Book of World Records for the title of most potholes in a capital city.
“We’re also considering applying for World Heritage Site status,” said Moore. “I mean, we have tourists coming from all over the world to get a glimpse of our famous potholes. We even have potholes over on Carling Avenue that reappear in the same place year after year, just like magic.”
To cement their commitment to pothole preservation, members of Potholes Forever are planning to stage a large-scale sit-in protest on Carling, hoping to garner enough public attention to spread their message nation-wide.
“Just because these road conditions are ‘dangerous’ and ‘structurally unsound’ doesn’t mean they should be changed,” said Moore. “In our minds, fixing up these potholes would be the equivalent of demolishing the Taj Mahal or turning Stonehenge into a waterpark.”