Hydro work dragging on, proving a real drag in Elmira neighbourhood

Take a walk down Grey Owl Drive in Elmira and it’s easy to see why some residents are frustrated.

LaMonte Jefferies lives there and is fed up with the Waterloo North Hydro construction he says began last summer.

“They are doing horizontal drilling and running new power cables in from the road as opposed to previously running power to the houses from the back. It involves excavating near every residence. They have left ditches at every house on my street and on front lawns. You don’t know what you are going to find on your lawn or on the boulevard when you get home – ditches, equipment or debris,” Jefferies said.

He first made contact with the company about his concerns when his stone driveway was torn up. He says the stones which were originally professionally installed were thrown back in which allowed weeds to grow between them. Now, the driveway needs to be ripped up and replaced with a proper base.

He says he gave up inquiring in April when it will be done in because no one has been able to give him an answer.

Herb Haller, Waterloo North Hydro’s vice-president of engineering and stations, noted the person Jefferies had been speaking to went on maternity leave in April.

“We do this work in stages. It’s not like we’re in there to do one project from beginning to end – ‘that’s it’ and we walk away. I know there’s one project now that has gone on a little bit longer than what we would have liked. Unfortunately the LRT project in Waterloo has challenged some of our resources. I believe it’s supposed to be completed about the end of this summer,” Haller said.

Jefferies says Waterloo North Hydro still has to excavate next to his deck, which means he’s been unable to finish the landscaping.

“They also told me that they would dismantle my newly built deck to get to the meter on my house. I asked for a schedule on that several times and have been given the runaround since last September,” Jefferies said.

The utility company has been working around that area since 2012 in different locations. Haller explains the infrastructure has aged and they’ve had failures there, so they’re going through a process of rebuilding it.

“Some of it is overhead construction, some of it is underground construction. We have some areas where it’s in the rear lot and we’re bringing it out to the front. But overall it’s an area where the infrastructure is at the point of its life where it needs to be replaced, so that we don’t have increasing numbers of equipment failures and power outages,” Haller said.

Jefferies maintains he was told that the sub-contractor would contact him within a couple weeks about a schedule for the construction, but that never happened.

“The neighbourhood has been torn up since that time, with construction materials and ditches everywhere. Where they have filled in the ditches, weeds have taken over,” Jefferies said.

Haller says he hasn’t heard from residents about the construction, but anyone looking for an update on the situation can get in touch with him directly.

“If people have concerns they should call us and talk to us.”

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