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.


5 thoughts on “Infrastructure strikes again.”

  1. Dear Santa,

    Living at the North Pole for much of the year, you’re probably unaware that friggin’ is not a profanity. It’s used instead of a profanity. It may have become a profanity to you; especially when going down those extra tight chimneys, but it’s simply a made up substitute.

    You may also have noticed a lot of empty homes in Toronto this year, thanks to the negligence of of our leaders who have allowed this city and its infrastructure to fall into disrepair. Those of us made into refugees are probably entitled to use a profanity or two – especially when Christmas has been so dramatically disrupted.

    Finally Santa, I’m living somewhere else – what happened to my presents this year?

  2. Your thoughtful article on the reality of the problems the city faces with weather changes and lack of political and corporate responsibility was well timed and welcome.
    With so many people still without power, some without water, all at Christmas time, should inspire us all to work to ensure that this kind of unnecessary effects don’t happen again, and that we invest in planning to protect infrastructures — and plan to provide for emergencies.
    These are issues we all need to think about. Thank you for raising them.

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