Hydro Meeting Update – Ward 33 E-Blast December 7th
Over the past few years, when the Hydro renewal project was not going well down in Henry Farm, we had trouble arranging information meetings to gather concerns and give the community proper updates. At the outset of the project, Hydro staff were not prepared to meet the level of community engagement we expect in Ward 33, so we were met with resistance when we called for those meetings.
This year, directly north in Don Valley Village, my Ward 33 Team indicated the need for a meeting halfway through the project right from the get go. We warned Hydro that when problems arose, we would be assembling all relevant staff for an evening meeting. This project is not having the difficulties we experienced in Henry Farm so the meeting ended up serving as an opportunity for community members to thank Toronto Hydro’s contractors for being so responsive.
We have learned that unexpected issues arise and community meetings should be required and anticipated in the cost of a contract. I’ve also learned that information sharing meetings, when things are going well can be just as informative. In both kinds of meetings, we bring contractors and senior staff closer to understanding the impact of their presence when major state-of-good-repair work takes over sidewalks and driveways. I think that gradually these meetings are turning them into better communicators, and it is high time.
Your neighbourhood under ice
Much of Don Valley Village was in darkness for 8 days during the ice storm in December. Following that storm, throughout 2014 and 2015, Ward 33 was listed among the top 5 wards in the city in terms of unplanned hydro outages. In spite of that statistic, the number one question that residents had in the meeting last week was, “Is this work necessary?”
It was good for Toronto Hydro executives to have the chance to explain that a healthy state-of-good-repair of the electrical infrastructure in our neighbourhood would make us less vulnerable to extreme weather events as well as addressing chronic system outages of short duration. They were also able to deliver a quick explanation of how the Ontario Energy Board reviews and approves all of their capital improvement work in three year bundles and that the cost is spread across every hydro customer in the system. With work only half completed, our ward is now listed among the 5 lowest wards for unplanned system outages.
At the meeting, we heard that multiple utilities can use a single pole on your street. Toronto Hydro is replacing poles across the City with taller ones as these reach their end of useful life to make them less vulnerable to trees in storms. When Toronto Hydro does this, they leave the old pole in place until the other utilities that share with them have moved all of their equipment over to the new poles. When all of this transferring is done, Toronto Hydro may take a few months to come back and remove all of the old poles in a project area. They do this pole removal work between other major projects when it is most cost-effective.
Here are some Ward 33 specific materials that Toronto Hydro created for our resident meeting. Note that the map includes all upcoming work but does not show any work in Don Valley Village that is already completed or well underway.
And one more FYI. While chatting after the meeting, residents reported that speeds seem to be increasing again on Shaughnessy Blvd between Van Horne and Sheppard Aves. Please drop us an email to let us know what you think about that. Traffic calming has helped and we have seen a dramatic drop off of accidents at the southern end of this stretch. However, if students from Lescon Public School and Dallington Public School are at risk due to speeding at the northern end, a speed limit reduction can reduce both speeders and short-cutters. Tell us what you think. Call 416-392-4038 or email [email protected]