Sullivan picks up the slack left by the city.

Mike Sullivan says he went to his councillor for help; got nowhere and ended up doing the job himself.

After the latest storm to hit York South-Weston, a political one may be brewing. While out canvassing on march 14, Sullivan observed that the only working sidewalk under the Lawrence Avenue rail bridge was in a dangerous condition. Federal Member of Parliament Mike Sullivan is the opposition deputy critic for persons with disabilities and thought that even with the stretched resources of the city, after two days, something should have been done. According to Sullivan, he left a message with his councillor Frances Nunziata and after waiting a few hours with no action, Sullivan and his assistant Branden Valente did the job themselves. Sullivan described the process in the video below and is openly critical of the level of service given to York South-Weston which is a Priority Neighbourhood. While there’s no love lost between the two representatives, Sullivan’s action will resonate with those who feel that York South-Weston has been neglected for years.

Infrastructure strikes again.

Weston has had two ‘once in a lifetime’ storm events this year. All indicators point to more of  the same. Weston is an older part of the city and the neglect of its infrastructure is painfully evident. The recent ice storm is still wreaking havoc in Toronto and Weston seems to have lost more than its fair share of power. Luckily our natural gas and water supplies are buried safely underground and have remained intact through all of this. Some homeowners with gas fireplaces have been able to heat their homes throughout this crisis and survive with emergency lighting.

Imagine if our gas supply was carried on overhead pipes. Apparently, Toronto Hydro can imagine this but can’t seem to understand that most civilized parts of the world have put their hydro lines underground.

In spite of Toronto Hydro having a huge number of people on the sunshine list, money spent on infrastructure has not been as forthcoming. We have become blind to the fact that most of our electrical supply is above ground. Not only is it vulnerable, it’s unsightly and ruins boulevard trees that have to be kept clear of power lines. The cost of an underground network has always been trotted out as the reason for our current (or lack of current) sorry state. Mississauga suffered minimal inconvenience in this latest storm precisely because most of their power lines are buried. Not only are overhead wires ugly as sin and reminiscent of the third world, they’re expensive to maintain and subject to calamitous and dangerous failure. Lives been put at risk, holiday celebrations have been disrupted, businesses have suffered during their biggest sales period and tonnes of food have been wasted thanks to powerless refrigerators and freezers.

If Toronto Hydro had instituted a policy of burying a percentage of its lines each year, along with ensuring all new homes had buried wiring, we would not have suffered this huge disruption. Again, we have been seduced by our own short-sighted desire for lower taxes and utility bills. Couple this with a failure on the part of Ontario governments of all three parties to oversee competent management of our electrical supply.

Of course, the rich haven’t suffered in all of this. Their generators are humming away merrily. It’s the poor and middle classes who bear the brunt of these events. The lower taxes and enormous salaries that supposedly attract business and competent leadership have done neither and have left us in a sorry state.

Once again, Toronto is in the news for the same reason – a failure of vision and leadership. Merry friggin’ Christmas.