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Winnipeg funeral director Mike Vogiatzakis launches mayoral bid on pothole fix

Winnipeg’s newest mayoral candidate believes his pothole-patching plan is the key to cementing his political aspirations.

“You can be assured that I’m going to be a cost-efficient guy, there’s not any money that’s going to go to waste,” said Mike Vogiatzakis, owner of Voyage Funeral Home in Elmwood, during a press conference at the Thunderbird Restaurant on McPhillips Street on Friday.

“It’s taxpayers money and we should be accountable for what we’re doing at city hall, so when I get in there and I see how much money we have and what we can do with it, be assured that we’ll find a solution that’s going to be efficient, that’s going to fix roads and that’ll be a permanent fix.”

Vogiatzakis introduced Sal Marra, the director of sales for New Jersey’s Pellet Patch, a hot mix asphalt machine that sits on a trailer.

Marra gave media and curious onlookers a demonstration of the unit, first by adding the pellets to the heated tank, which after a few minutes delivered the hot asphalt.

That mixture was carted by wheelbarrow and shoveled into the pothole. It was then raked and flattened into place using a vibratory roller.

“That’s another thing with our product, it cures fast so you don’t have long lane closures,” said Marra, who had a truck drive over the patch about 10 minutes after it was set.

“(Vogiatzakis) called me up and he said ‘listen, I’m concerned for the potholes up here,’ he said, ‘would you be interested in coming and doing a demonstration?’ Me being the person I am, I said absolutely, it’s only 3,000 miles but I’ll make the trip.”

Marra said his machine, which costs $31,000 per unit, “works everywhere” and is being used in Hamilton, Ont., and Flint, Mich.

“Right now (the city is) putting cold asphalt in the ground, cold asphalt lasts an hour, two hours, two days, it’s not a permanent (solution), they’re going out filling those potholes over and over and over again,” added Vogiatzakis, who was asked about a legal battle he had in the past with MPI.

“I think we should be talking about my future, what I’m doing for Winnipeg right now, how I’m going to change things.”

Vogiatzakis said the last 15 years he’s worked as a funeral director have changed him for the better.

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