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.

 

Sullivan: Harper government ignoring Weston flood damage.

York South-Weston MP Mike Sullivan spoke in Parliament today about the flooding in York South-Weston and revealed that despite the damage caused on July 8th, the Federal government has failed to offer any meaningful assistance.

Mr. Speaker, this past summer, the City of Toronto suffered what is described as a once-in-a-hundred-years storm. Thousands of homes were flooded, families lost cherished possessions and spent millions rebuilding. Neighbourhoods in my riding of York South—Weston were among the hardest hit.

I visited the flooded streets to offer comfort and assistance. I saw tremendous resilience from the very young to the very old. I also saw the aftermath of the current Conservative government’s neglect of our city and its critical infrastructure needs, such as improved sewer systems, some of which are over 100 years old.

With climate change, severe storms like the one that hit Toronto on July 8 will become more frequent. The Conservative government needs to get off the sidelines and start investing to prevent widespread flooding from happening with each big storm.

I have written on these matters to the Minister of the Environment and Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs, but the response did not offer any assistance.

This is a prime example of the climate change adaptation the government talks about. The time to help is now. My constituents not only expect it, they demand it.

Sullivan is organizing a petition to the Federal government requesting infrastructure funding for our inadequate and outdated sewer systems. Once printed off and signed, petitions can be folded, stapled closed and mailed for free to:

Mike Sullivan MP
House of Commons
Ottawa
ON
K1A 0A6