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Homeowners wary of WNH plan for digging up their property

With plans in motion to install underground hydro systems in some of Elmira’s residential areas, Waterloo North Hydro (WNH) representatives met with a few homeowners Wednesday morning to assuage concerns on the future work slated for their properties.

What the utility heard from those gathered at Joe Brearley’s home on Thrush Court is that the residents are wary of assurances there will be no inconveniences or property damage.

Existing hydro poles in back yards will be taken down in favour of an underground system that would weather extreme conditions better than the current poles, and reduce the frequency of power outages. Damage as a result of the directional boring (about a metre deep) from the boulevard to the base of every home’s electrical meter, seems to be a main concern for the residents, though WNH has sent letters to homeowners last year guaranteeing to leave lawns and driveways in good shape.

“With the rear-yard pole lines, we really want to get rid of them. You can’t get trucks back there; it’s a big hassle for everyone,” engineering technologist Brandon Colvin told the four residents present.

The neighbours wanted WNH’s promise to take care of their homes put in writing.

“If you can’t put something in writing to guarantee me that my driveway is going to be as it is now, then I am going to be searching for compensation,” said Brearley.

Any damage due to boring into driveways and lawns will be looked at during the detailed design stage of the process for each street. Individual homeowners will be contacted during this stage if issues arise, according to Dorothy Moryc, manager of distribution engineering.

Bethlehem WM Trenching Ltd. is the contractor for the project, with each street involved getting a new system. Areas slated for the project set to begin in the late fall include Pheasant Drive from Barnswallow Drive to Cedar Waxwing Drive, Chickadee Court, Canary Court, Cedar Waxwing Drive from Barnswallow Drive to Flamingo Drive, Flamingo Drive from First Street to Oriole Parkway West, Grosbeak Road from Cedar Waxwing Drive to Oriole Parkway West, Kingfisher Drive from Barnswallow Drive to Grosbeak Road, Thrush Court, Phoebe Crescent, and Oriole Parkway West from Grosbeak Road to Flamingo Drive.

Two letters informing all homeowners were sent last October and November, the first in regards to plans for the project and the second addressing subsequent concerns brought forth by residents.

“I appreciate you coming out and addressing the concerns,” said Brearley on Wednesday morning. “Sometimes we don’t even get that opportunity with some other people; it’s just stuffed down our throats.”


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