Temporary fencing surrounds utility pole for years

Temporary fencing surrounds utility pole for years

When fencing that’s supposed to be temporary is still in place years later, it becomes a permanent intrusion into the local landscape.

Utility contractors must follow stringent requirements imposed by the city to keep people safe from the holes they dig. A big part of the rules is to put up fencing around the excavations.

Anyone who reads this column knows I am a critic of the corner-cutting that goes on with utility contractors, particularly when they do a lousy job of patching the holes they dig.

There’s not much to criticize about the fencing they erect around their digs; the vast majority follow the rules when it comes to providing a safety buffer between people and their excavations.

But when they forget to take down the fencing after it is no longer needed, that’s a different story.

Susan Hope sent us a note and pictures of a utility pole on Kingston Road., near Deep Dene Drive, saying she first noticed it in February of 2016, adding “I have no idea how long it’s been there.

“There are wires hanging down and it has been (fenced) off and an eyesore for years.”

I went there and found a tumbledown orange plastic fence surrounding a pole on the south side of the street, but no signs that the area at the bottom of the pole had been dug up. It had me wondering why the fencing was erected in the first place.

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A Google Street View image taken in July of 2017 shows the fencing was in place then, but an image shot in August of 2016 doesn’t show it. So it was put up later than Hope thought it was.

STATUS: Most utility poles in the city are owned by Toronto Hydro, so we asked it about the fencing. Spokesperson Russell Baker said they checked it out and determined that the pole belongs to Bell Canada. We sent a note to Jacqueline Michelis, who deals with media for Bell. Michelis wrote to us last Tuesday, saying “we sent out a team yesterday to remove the fencing and we’ll lay some sod there as well. The fencing was unfortunately left behind following a fibre upgrade in the neighbourhood. An error on our part and we reminded the crews responsible about the process for construction site cleanup.” Hope also sent us a note last week, to thank us for helping to get rid of the fence, saying “quite unbelieveable — instant results.”

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What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Email jlakey@thestar.ca or follow @TOStarFixer on Twitter

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