05/09/2014 09:29 EDT | Updated 05/13/2014 12:59 EDT

Man Faces Fine For Filling Potholes City Hasn't Fixed

Picture this: a street with potholes as big as a foot wide. They sit there unfixed until a man comes along with a tractor and fills them himself.

And what does the city do? It tells him he could be fined, and take steps to undo the work he has already done.

That's the situation facing Mike Defazio, who grew tired of seeing potholes on Broadway Avenue in Saint John, N.B. and decided to fill them with gravel last Saturday, CBC News reported.

On Wednesday, however, a city employee told him he had broken bylaws.

"I thought that I wasn’t really doing anything wrong, but he sure straightened me out on that matter," Defazio told the network.

Defazio decided to do the work after blowing out a tire on the street three weeks ago. He also says he witnessed a funeral hearse trying to maneuvre around potholes, The National Post reported.

But in filling the holes, he also broke a bylaw stating that private citizens can't modify the city's roads, Kevin Rice, the city's deputy commissioner of transportation and environment services, told the newspaper.

"His intentions were well-meaning and he undertook actions on his own to fill potholes either out of frustration or perception of a lack of action and he put a lot of gravel on the road," he said.

"The problem with that is he filled a thick layer of gravel over the asphalt surface and what happens then [is that] I began to receive complaints from the public."

Rice told Defazio that there were complaints about the gravel used, suggesting the fill could damage cars and create possible insurance issues.

The city was initially going to send a crew to put the potholes back the way they were and bill Defazio for the work, but a contractor was hired instead.

City crews have been ordered to fix Broadway Avenue on Monday.

And that's timely action, because Defazio told QMI Agency if the holes aren't fixed within a week, he'll just fill them all over again using "better gravel."

Saint John certainly isn't the only Canadian city where people have expressed frustration with potholes.

In early April, a reporter with the Telegram newspaper in St. John's, Newfoundland made a video in which he dropped a banana down a four-foot-deep pothole that looked more like a sinkhole.

Comedian Brian Aylward later filmed himself delivering a rant from inside the very same pothole.

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