On the lookout for potholes

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Kirkland’s iCARE looking for informers

BY ELYSE AMEND

elyse.amend@transcontnental.ca

With well over 1,000 complaints, requests, and suggestions – including everything from snow clearing and garbage collection to street lights and stray animals – the Town of Kirkland is now using its iCARE system to target those pavement perforations more commonly known as potholes.

Kirkland’s director general, Lily Bouchard, said the town decided to put a notice up on its website about using the iCARE system to report potholes because of the varying weather we have had this winter. “With the temperature playing up and down, we’re asking everyone to help us identify the potholes,” Bouchard said, adding that, although public works crews head out to look for and repair potholes everyday, they can’t always get to every one immediately. Since posting the notice on the website at the beginning of January, the city has received three pothole reports through iCARE. According to Bouchard, tips from residents can help things run more efficiently. “There was a major (pothole) on St. Charles near Meloche. We received a call and repaired it the next day,” she said.

Kirkland unveiled its iCARE system in October 2007. The $20,000 project implemented by business process management and integration solutions specialist Techtra Inc. allows Kirklanders, as well as residents of other municipalities, to register their complaints, request services and information, and make suggestions to the town through an online system accessible via Kirkland’s website (www.ville.kirkland.qc.ca). Once a person submits a file to iCARE, the system automatically forwards it to the appropriate department, and also assigns a file manager who will follow the case from beginning to end. “People are using the system,” said head of information technology Nabil Takla of the number of files that have been registered through the system since October. “We’re still in the developing phase, so we’re adding functions. But it’s been working just fine.”

Similar to the iCARE pothole informer initiative, CAA Quebec’s annual Pothole Watch is done in partnership with about 250 municipalities in Quebec. People with pothole problems can log onto www.caaquebec.com and report dangerous potholes. In 2007, the forum received just under 2,000 warnings about potholes, most of which have been repaired. According to CAA Quebec communications officer Claudia Martin, the organization is currently working on the Watch’s eight edition website, which should be up and running over the next few weeks. “It is certainly very appreciated by our members and the towns we work with,” Martin said.

Organizations: Techtra

Geographic location: Kirkland, Meloche, Quebec

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