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Old utility poles take the hint and disappear

Better late than never, when it comes to old utility poles that were taken out of service but left standing next to the new poles that replaced them.

Last month we reported on an ongoing problem with Toronto Hydro’s effort to replace aging poles: The power utility seems in no hurry to get rid of the old ones, which amount to needless street clutter.

We’ve had many complaints about old poles that should have disappeared long ago, most recently from a reader who said they’ve overstayed their welcome by about two years on Beech and Pine Aves.

Toronto Hydro told us the same thing it does every time the problem comes up: Until wires belonging to other utilities are moved to the new poles, the old ones cannot be removed.

We weren’t expecting them to be moved any time soon, so it was a surprise to get a note on March 4 from Dennis Newman, who said, “after years of inaction by Hydro, just a few days after your article they started removing the old poles on Beech and Pine.”

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Another recent column was about a tree in the middle of a construction site for a new house on Craighurst Ave. that had a fence around it to protect it from damage, as required by law, but was filled with debris from the project.

When we went to check it out, the tree protection fencing had been trampled, with the area inside it chock full of construction junk, an indication that the builder had no respect for the city’s tree protection bylaw.

Andrew Pickett, an official with urban forestry, sent us a note saying that after our column a stop-work order was issued, along with an order that the area around the tree be cleared and the fence restored.

Also last month we wrote about a large iron plate covering a utility excavation on Avenue Rd., near Brookdale Ave., with a smooth surface that pedestrians found to be slippery when wet.

Aecon, the utility that put the plate over the cut it made in the sidewalk on behalf of Bell Canada, responded by putting asphalt around the edges of the plate, which was not exactly the fix we had asked for.

Andre Filippetti, who’s in charge of right-of-way management in that area, sent us an email saying that Aecon removed the plate and put in a temporary patch over the hole a couple weeks ago.

What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Send an email to jlakey@thestar.ca. Report problems and follow us on Twitter @TOStarFixer.

TORONTO STAR