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That Sinking Feeling

What Happened

Mr. R noticed a sinkhole at the edge of the road in front of his place of work. The hole was about 30 cm across and a substantial 65 cm deep. He called 311 on July 7, 2010 and was told that someone would inspect the site within 24 hours. On July 22, the hole was still there and so Mr. R called 311 again. This time, Mr. S was told the matter had been given to Transportation Services. He waited another two weeks, then called again. 311 staff said Transportation Services had assessed the hole and referred it to Water Services, who had scheduled the work.

Satisfied that the situation had been resolved, Mr. R went on vacation for two weeks. When he returned, however, the hole was still there, although now with the addition of two pylons and fallen-down signs beside it. It was now more than seven weeks since Mr. R first called 311 for help. Once again, he called 311, who told him that Water Services had closed the file, which meant the hole was fixed. Mr. R stressed that he could still see the hole, and so it was not fixed. He was given a new tracking number and told that Transportation Services would have to inspect the site and fix the problem. Frustrated, Mr. R called our office.

What We Did

We called a number of City staff to track down the source of the problem. After some digging, the City agreed to find a solution. It turned out that Toronto Water did what they were supposed to do, but did not instruct Transportation Services to do its part. Instead, a Toronto Water employee mistakenly notified Technical Services, where it sat on the desk of someone who was away.

The Result

Following our intervention, Transportation Services sent a crew out and fixed the sinkhole.