As part of the “plan” for the “southern gateway” collection of high rises being built at Preston and Carling, the City decided that street wiring should be buried around the new towers.
This wasn’t a neighbourhood priority, as we know the wiring will be buried very shallowly (because its cheaper) thus preventing tree planting anyway:
Nonetheless, burying wiring isn’t necessarily bad. But … (of course, you knew there would be a “but” …)
The wiring has been buried around Claridge’s 45 storey ICON building at the corner of Carling. Including moving a post just a few feet. I wonder how much that “public amenity” cost? I’m sure you are thrilled with the streetscape improvement. Your municipal dollars at work.
That’s the back corner of the building site on the extreme left. Surely removing the tacky above ground wiring from around new buildings means more than just to the inch in front of the building property line? After all, any “view” of the building will still include the wiring. And any resident on the lower floors that looks out will still be staring at a utility pole and overhead wires. I had, maybe naively, assumed burying wiring around the new towers would mean burying the wiring for the whole block its on.
But maybe there will be trees in concrete planter boxes? Surely those will grow just as well??
A few blocks away, there is an attractive infill project of 20 townhouses that replaces the late, much unlamented Cousin Eddy’s Garage. The folks buying these houses paid for underground wiring connections. Including some flush to the ground utility boxes.
But somehow, that new wiring doesn’t replace the ugly overhead wiring right in front of all their windows.
Bell is in the process of removing all the backyard wiring in our west side neighbourhood, replacing it with fibre optic cable buried a few inches deep along the sidewalks. But with this existing streetside overhead Bell and Rogers cable, I suspect they won’t be in a hurry to bury it.
I find it puzzling that the City requires residents and businesses in the post-1960’s neighbourhoods and along arterials to pay for buried wiring. The cost of which is buried in their home purchase price or rental costs.
Back when the city started a program of rebuilding downtown residential streets, I proposed they bury the wiring too. Oh no, was the reply, it imposes too high an unexpected cost on residents and tenants and would be unjust. But suburbanites pay for this on their mortgages, not as a one time charge, so why not do that here, amortizing it over 20 years on their electric bills? Absolutely not! Out of the question. And people with small front yards would object to the large power boxes that would be installed in front of their houses. Seriously. They were scraping the barrel then, and we haven’t progressed any since then.
To be clear: wiring should be buried when streets are rebuilt, or for the block major new projects* appear on. It should be buried deeply enough to allow for tree lined streets. And if deemed a local improvement, the cost should be recovered over 20 years, just like we require folks to do in the ‘burbs. Or, our local officials can continue to overcharge for electricity, profiting from their monopoloy ownership of the electric “utility”, to spend the gravy money on pet projects, all while complaining about big biz.
* where neighbourhoods or blocks are undergoing replacement of many / most / all the housing, such as Champlain Park or Roosevelt Avenue, I’d require each new house to have underground connections. After all, in about a decade, it will be pretty much all new housing. But connected to Council’s 1940’s overhead wiring. Sheesh.