Councillor Ana Bailão made the rounds this week for the latest “Oh no! Road Construction!” story, this time focused on Dundas West. I’m not always sympathetic to those who immediately complain about so-called construction chaos. It happens sometimes, and we must persevere. Still, though, it seems undeniable at this point that the city has a real problem when it comes to the coordination of utility work, to the point where construction delays are far more common than they should be.
Soon after the media jumped on Bailão’s story, Public Works Chair Denzil Minnan-Wong joined the party.
The Toronto Star’s Robyn Doolittle:
Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee, said this is yet another example of shoddy planning that leads to over-budget spending, lengthy delays and city roads being ripped up, rebuilt and ripped up again across the city.
“We are told time and time again, over and over again, that things are coordinated and then we find out after the fact, when things go wrong, that they weren’t,” he said.
This an area where the new administration has a real chance to prove their effectiveness. It’s an identifiable problem, and has been for years. It might even be a case where a more stereotypically conservative approach — involving yelling and threats — is kind of appropriate.
It’s not a simple problem, however, and there’s a great danger in oversimplifying. This isn’t about lazy unions or inept city staff. It’s about a bunch of agencies — some private and some public — trying to coordinate communication and requirements to one another across a very large and very busy city.