As Bell continues to install its fibre-optic cable in Orléans, residents are continuing to have mixed reviews of the work and the impact it’s having on their properties.
Bell began installing the hundreds of miles of cable in Orléans in 2019. Harvest Crescent in Convent Glen was one of the first streets impacted. For the most part, the company responsible for the actual work was able to keep the impact on properties to a minimum, but on one side of the street they had to dig a small trench across the end of the driveways.
The trench was approximately a foot wide and four feet deep. After the cable was placed in the trench it was filled in, compacted and paved over. Today, you can barely notice any work was done.
In general, Broadband Maintenance Inc. uses a boring technique that allows them to run the cable about four feet under the ground. They then install junctions boxes near the roadway, which allows them to run the cable to the house should the homeowner request it.
The junctions boxes ware installed at the ground level which allows a lawnmower to run over it without any issue.
Under the City’s existing bylaws, Broadband is supposed to give residents ample notice that the work is being done. This is done in the form of a letter that is either mailed to the residents or left in their mailbox. The problem is that the resident doesn’t always see the letter, or it is sent long before the work is done so that when work commences the resident has long forgotten about it.
Keith De Cruz lives on Harlequin Crescent in Chatelaine Village where Broadband started installing the fibre optic cable in the spring. One day De Cruz walked out of his house to notice a work crew cutting a hole in the middle of the driveway. It was done as a precaution to make sure they didn’t bore into a sewer pipe that was servicing De Cruz’s property. The problem is that De Cruz was never told the work would be done.
“The guy said that they had knocked on my door, but either I wasn’t home or they didn’t knock very hard,” says De Cruz, who was upset to say the least, because if they had talked to him first he could have saved them a lot of work by explaining that the sewer pipe was way below grade, making the hole totally unnecessary.
De Cruz is now worried the asphalt patch will, over time, become a pot hole despite the two-year warranty the company must provide for their work.
Broadband defended the decision to dig the exploratory hole because an agreement with the city gives them relative carte blanche to do whatever they feel is necessary to complete the job. The agreement is basically a global road cut allowance on city property which can be as much as six metres from edge of the road.
“A lot of people don’t realize how much of their property is actually owned by the city,” says Orléans Ward councillor Matt Luloff.
When Broadband comes to your street to install the fibre-optic cable, the first thing you will notice are a bunch of small orange flags used to locate city services such as natural gas lines and other underground cables. The next thing you will notice is a large spool of orange cable, before the workers show up.
If at any time you feel your property is being unnecessarily damaged, you should call your local councillor.