When city-hired construction crews punched through the asphalt boulevard outside Tak Hayashi's Cilaire home, he assumed they'd pay to fix the damage. The bill has landed in his hands instead.
"We paid (a significant amount) to have it paved 10 years ago and now we are being asked to foot the $1,650 bill to see it repaired," Hayashi said from his home on Black Powder Trail. "It doesn't make sense."
The City of Nanaimo launched a major utility project in the Cilaire subdivision last year to upgrade water mains and storm-water drainage, and while it will pay to repair grass and gravel on public boulevards damaged during construction, it will not cover the higher costs of paving.
The policy frustrates some residents living along Black Powder Trail, who paid to pave the city's right-of-way a decade ago to cut down on yard maintenance.
They believe the city should restore the boulevard to its original look on its own dime and have petitioned city council to change the boulevard restoration policy that leaves repairs of cement driveways and asphalt boulevards to residents.
"We were under the impression the city would repair the boulevard back to its original state," said Mary Lou Nordstrom, resident. "We were annoyed when we were told we'd have to pay for it . . . they ripped up the pavement."
The Black Powder Trail neighbourhood has been under construction since last year as crews got underway on a massive utility replacement project. The city is now preparing to oversee the final road paving and boulevard repairs and have made it clear to residents where the cost divide will lie.
The city allows people to landscape and pave boulevards but it will only repair torn right-of-ways with grass, gravel or bark mulch if there is construction damage. Fixes to concrete driveways and paved boulevards are the responsibility of homeowners. Asphalt repairs also must be done at residents' own risk, because there is no guarantee private utility companies or city crews won't replace infrastructure again in the future.
According to Stephen Ricketts, the city's construction manager, the policy saves the city from expensive restoration projects that do not benefit the general public. Asphalt costs $38 more per square metre than grass seed.
"We recognize people in Cilaire have done a lot of improvements to the boulevard and want to see it put back to the way it was, so we've offered to do the paving if they pay the difference once we take away the costs to do grass or gravel," Ricketts said. "It's not something we typically do, but we are trying to work with (residents)."
Residents are offered $24 per square metre instead of $41 if they register with the city before June 15, when a contract paver is expected to finish the roadwork.
It isn't enough for Hayashi and Nordstrom, who expect bills to tally more than $1,500.
The second phase of the restoration project in Cilaire to replace the water main, sections of the storm water drainage and sewer system begins in late June.
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