Overhead Wiring is so Third World.

Overhead wiring detracts from our streetscape and especially from heritage buildings like our beautiful library.

Weston, like many parts of the third world – oh and also Toronto – is plagued with overhead wiring. It’s completely unnecessary since there are no streetcars in Weston. It’s in fact a false economy on the part of power and communications companies.

In the winter of 2013, the city was shut down for days because an ice storm downed a lot of overhead wiring. More than 300,000 Toronto households were affected. The cost to individuals, the city and the economy was enormous and clean-up costs alone were estimated at over $100,000,000 at the time. Don’t blame the trees; many Toronto trees had been weakened thanks to pruning to accommodate wiring!

The adjacent city of Mississauga was minimally affected because their wiring is buried safely underground.

The 2013 ice storm cost Toronto dearly. From cbc.ca

Overhead wiring is a danger during ice storms and traffic collisions but there is an aesthetic consideration too. What is the effect of wiring on our streetscape?

Take a look at our beautiful Arts and Crafts library without overhead wires (courtesy of a quick Photoshop job). The building can be appreciated in all its glory without unsightly wiring.

Photoshop did what the city and utilities won’t.

Overhead wiring and transportation have one thing in common. The city and utilities should have been tackling them for decades but in Toronto, there is always a lack of money thanks to the short-sighted obsession with keeping property taxes below the rate of inflation. Interestingly, this same obsession doesn’t apply to salaries for the mayor and councillors as their paycheques are automatically linked to the rate of inflation. Nice.

Oh, by the way, yesterday’s photo reveals that the library needs new shingles. Probably cheaper than a leaky roof but then that’s not the Toronto way, is it?

1 thought on “Overhead Wiring is so Third World.”

  1. Nice notion.

    But, given what we know about these kinds of projects, imagine the cost over runs on reworking that infrastructure, everywhere!

    The concerning public sector salaries & benefits are a mere drop in the bucket when compared to those shady bids & offers from questionable construction industry types.

    Bottom line – on to your proverbial wallet, tax payer.

    Compared to Weston, Mississauga is relatively infant-like when it comes to urban planning.

    They seem to have easier choices to make, given their area & more affluent populace, in general.

    Here in Weston, an attempt to go underground was made years earlier – and can be seen on the stretch of Queens Drive roadway in between Elm and Pine Street.

    Good idea, no?

    What happened?

    Why didn’t that experiment continue?

    If only these choices were easy, and debate & partisan free.

    On a past trip to San Francisco (post the ’89 quake in the Bay Area) we got a chance to see first hand what can become of good dreams.

    After a nightmare, their city planners had the dubious benefit of choosing a better way again, after yet another major, natural disaster.

    So, they agreed to get rid of their aging problems & eyesores – ridding themselves of their Gardiner like overhead expressways, improved their infrastructures where possible and made an ugly, failing industrial area into a beautiful downtown waterside region for all to enjoy.

    The Embarcadero is lovely – including old street cars as we once knew them.

    Another natural benefit – they never or at least rarely have to deal with winter as we know it – no snow or freezing temperatures to speak of in that setting. Always that very dull & boring Mediterranean climate.

    Daytime highs around 20c and nighttime lows near 10c, with little rainfall.

    Public above ground transit like those old streetcars function quite nicely, for tourists.

    But, it’s also one of the most desirable & expensive places in the world to live, work & play. An on going challenge for most of us, including those living in Weston.

    Anyway, for Weston & Toronto in general, we need to have dreams.

    Let’s hope we never have that other dream..
    ..and the choices that follow.

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