G20 conversations: working the craneby Pras Rajagopalan
Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2010
For the third instalment in our G20 conversation series, I spoke to Sean MacMillan, a construction worker who has for six months helped to build the Ritz-Carlton hotel/condominium complex within the inner fenced security zone. Crews at the site will stop work during the summit and possibly in the days before it.
The following transcript is a condensed and abridged version of my interview with him:
How are you guys affected by the G20 summit?
Our supervisor has asked us whether we want to work or take the time off. Those who want to take the time off just take the time off. Those who want to work will be assigned to other projects nearby temporarily until the area opens again.
So construction will be stopped? For how long?
For the duration of the security for the G20 summit -- until they open the area again. I have a feeling it will include a few weekdays [before the summit] as well.
I was one who volunteered just to take the time off and not even bother coming into the city at that time.
Why is that?
Spend the time with the family and kids I guess.... I'd like to avoid the whole thing.
What do you think the effect will be on the downtown?
I think it's very disruptive. Why it would need to take place in the heart of an urban centre -- it's probably not entirely necessary for the amount it's going to disrupt workplaces like this particular site and other industries nearby. It probably would be better to hold it in a more rural setting or country setting.
What do you think are some of the benefits of having the summit in downtown Toronto?
I suppose it's convenient for them.... They've certainly got the facilities in there for everything they need -- the hotel on one side and CSIS on the other, I think. It's probably not a bad spot.
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When the opportunity came to cover the impact of the G20 summit on everyday life in Toronto, he jumped at the chance.