Toronto

Dangling cables have Scarborough neighbours fearing for children's safety

Residents in a Scarborough neighbourhood say they spent weeks this summer entangled in a dispute with Rogers Communications over low-hanging cables, and they say the city has done little to solve the problems.

'I don't want her around the cables like this,' resident says about her daughter

Caryn Luck stands beside a knot of Rogers cables dangling from an overhead wire. It was one of several locations in the neighbourhood that she'd complained was unsightly and unsafe for kids. Less than 24 hours after a call from CBC Toronto, Rogers crews were at the site burying the cable. (Mike Smee/CBC)

Residents in a Scarborough neighbourhood say they spent weeks this summer entangled in a dispute with Rogers Communications over low-hanging cables, and they say the city has done little to solve the problem.

Since the beginning of the summer, a couple of blocks of Braymore Boulevard and adjacent Dean Park Road have resembled an obstacle course, with torn up sidewalks and communications cables twisted around trees and private downspouts, and coiled on the sidewalk, resident Caryn Luck told CBC Toronto.

"I won't bring my daughter down here because she's too small and I don't want her around the cables like this, that she could get touching, or wrapped up in, tripping over," Luck said Monday as she stood beside a tangled mass of black cable that had been hanging down to the sidewalk from an overhead wire.

It was one of about a half dozen locations on Braymore and Dean Park where Rogers underground cables had been temporarily unearthed, in order to make way for Toronto Hydro contractors excavating the sidewalk for another project.

Luck says she complained to her city councillor, Jennifer McKelvie, but was told to contact Rogers herself.

Rogers cable lines tied to a tree on Dean Park Road in Scarborough. (Mike Smee/CBC)

Within 18 hours of receiving calls from CBC Toronto, Rogers crews were on the scene burying the wayward cables. After this story was initially published, Rogers sent CBC News a statement, saying that "this week's work to install permanent lines was scheduled on Saturday, and the work began Monday."

"I feel frustrated that Rogers would let this go on all summer, when they need less than 24 hours to get it together and come and bury these wires," Luck said Tuesday.

At one address on Braymore Boulevard, communications cable had simply been wrapped around a dead tree leaning against a fence. (Mike Smee/CBC)

Neither Rogers nor Coun. McKelvie would speak with CBC Toronto on camera about the issue.

But city spokesperson Eric Holmes said in an email that contractors have to abide by city rules.

"Utility companies are required to make temporary services safe for the public by ensuring that cables running over sidewalks and driveways have a minimum clearance of 4.5 [metres] above the surface," he wrote.

These cables, hanging over a sidewalk on Braymore Boulevard, were later buried by a Rogers crew. (Mike Smee/CBC)

Both Rogers and McKelvie noted in statements Tuesday that work was underway to bury the badly-placed cables.

The Rogers statement notes that the dangling cables are a temporary situation, and that some of the cables were in the process of being buried Tuesday.

Less than 24 hours after a call from CBC Toronto, Rogers crews began burying the troublesome cables on Braymore Boulevard. (Yanjun Li/CBC)

"We know how important it is for our customers to stay connected at home," the statement reads.

"Construction on behalf of Toronto Hydro required us to install temporary lines to provide uninterrupted service to the neighbourhood. As the construction progresses we will be installing permanent lines, and in the meantime work has begun to improve the temporary ones. We thank our customers for their patience."

In McKelvie's statement, she maintains that, contrary to what Luck said, she did try to solve the problem.

Caryn Luck says she wouldn't let her four-year-old daughter walk through the neighourhood because of all the dangling wires. (Mike Smee/CBC)

"Rogers has had to temporarily move their wires and is attempting to restore the area. We have voiced the concerns of the resident and escalated the complaints to the utilities. Our understanding is that contractors are on site, working on the issues," the statement reads.