Story of a Nasty Pothole and a Squeaky Wheel

Many streets in Montreal are not known for being, shall we say, paved. Well, paved smoothly. Without gashes and gorges… gorgeous, they are not. When crossing the street, you must always LOOK DOWN in front of you, lest you do what I did last week.

Yup, silly me, I forgot to look down, and fell – KER-SPLAT – smack-dab in the middle of the street between my car which I had just parked, and the church in which my office is located. Luckily it’s a one-way avenue in a quiet area, so there were no cars bearing down on me. Unfortunately, there were also no people anywhere about, to lend me a hand; getting up with nothing to grab onto was a feat in itself.

After I dusted myself off, and ascertained that nothing was broken or torn or bleeding (much), I had the presence of mind to take a few photos. Love my iPhone!

Understand that the street has looked like this for years, all crevice-y and crap-py. We Montrealers are a pretty jaded lot, I guess. We all just got so used to this particular eyesore.

But I was mad. Fightin’ mad. I said to the church’s secretary, I wanna call somebody! I wanna tell somebody! Who should I call/tell?! “The Town Hall?” she suggested. I should explain for any non-Montrealers reading this that our office is located in an area of Montreal that is kind of a town-within-a-town. It is called Montreal West, since it’s located in, you guessed it, Montreal West. It has its own mayor, city councillors, and so on.

So I immediately looked up their “public security” department to start, and told my story. Eventually I was given the name of the person in charge of such things (pothole accidents??) and was told I should email him. Fine. This is a record of our email exchange, which I can only descibe as miraculous. I mean the length of time involved, and the outcome. Simply amazing – a testament to the value of small towns!

Me to the Town Clerk, Sept. 17, 2015:

Dear M. Gilbert,

I work at the NDG Senior Citizens’ Council. Our offices are at 88 Ballantyne Ave. N., in the Montreal West United Church. Today as I approached the church, and was crossing Ballantyne, I tripped and fell, scraping the skin off my knee very badly, and scraping my palm as well (when I tried to stop my fall). When I looked behind me, as I was lying there, I saw near my foot a deep pothole – surrounded by many cracks and crevices. In fact the whole street section in front of the church is a mess; it is a miracle that more people haven’t fallen. I could easily have broken my leg. It was further traumatizing by the fact that not a soul was around, and it was very difficult for me to get up! (I am almost 70 years old.) I have taken photos of the spot on the road, the door of the church entrance we use, as well as my knee!

I am not asking for anything such as money, and do not plan a lawsuit. All I want, M. Gilbert, is for this section of Ballantyne to be PAVED properly. It is really in appalling shape. I am afraid to cross it, especially now. And I certainly don’t want anyone else to fall – not churchgoers, not my work colleagues, not Council program participants (all seniors), and not residents. Please see that the road is paved as soon as possible.

Thank you very much for your attention in this matter.

Town Clerk to me, Sept. 21, 2015:

Ms. Presner,

Your comments have been forwarded to the responsible department.  I sincerely hope you are well by now.


Claude Gilbert
Town Clerk
Montreal West

Me to Town Clerk, Sept. 22, 2015:

Better thank you. When can we expect to look out our window and see some work going on? VERY soon?

Town Clerk to Me, Sept. 23, 2015:

Ms. Presner,

I understand it would be done early next week if not this week.

Claude Gilbert

Me to Town Clerk, Sept. 23, 2015:


Me to Town Clerk, Sept. 24, 2015:

You are an honest man! The work was done by the time I got to the office at 12 noon today!  I see it’s a patch job, but a LOT better than nothing!!! Nice fast work, thank you very much!!


All of which goes to prove the old adage: SPEAK UP. And as our moms always told us, BE POLITE.

I’m sorry I did not have the presence of mind to take “after” photos. I was in too much shock. 😀

P.S. – My clever son said, “The speed at which they paved may be proportional to the speed at which they wanted to avoid a @%$@! lawsuit.” He may have something there.

3 thoughts on “Story of a Nasty Pothole and a Squeaky Wheel

  1. I’m just so glad you’re alright. And I’m jealous of your local politics. I think I could write letters for years about a pothole, and the only way the hole would get filled is if I dump enough letters into it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!! In my case, it just happens that the event took place in what is basically a small town, with its own public works department. So my complaint got action WAY faster than it would have in the City of Montreal, where it probably would’ve been lost in the shuffle of thousands of others. I’m so glad I didn’t break any bones. Put that down to a nice layer of fat. And calcium supplements. And luck! Lotsa luck!!

      Liked by 1 person

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