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City reminding residents to steer clear of sinkholes

City officials are thanking the public for taking a photo of a sinkhole near downtown, but are reminding the public that they must take a safety-first approach in the future. The sinkhole, just off of 100 Street close to the intersection of 108 Avenue, was discovered right next to a catch basin.

Sinkhole just off 100 St & 108 Ave in Grande Prairie (Sage Babrah, Facebook)

Transportation Manager Robert Carroll says sinkholes like that normally are caused by a crack in the pipe attached to the storm sewer system, and if the water is leaking into the ground, the sinkhole can pose a big risk to the general public.

“It could be a larger sinkhole than you actually see because sometimes the material can be washed out from underneath the asphalt. The asphalt may still be intact, but there could be 95 feet of drop underneath it that you can’t see from the surface. It’s always a good idea to stay well away from, don’t look down into it, as it’s very unpredictable what’s actually underneath there.”

He adds that while posting photos on social media is, in the end, helpful, he hopes in the future, anyone who sees a similar problem developing will use the official channels.

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“Usually that kind of stuff gets around to the city pretty quick, [but] a better way [is] to call our contact centre about it and they can get someone dispatched to look at it right away.”

Carroll says the sinkhole initially brought to the city’s attention via social media was filled in a matter of hours overnight Monday.

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