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Hydro working to find solution to Kingsway streetlight outage

Last Updated Aug 11, 2017 at 11:28 pm EDT

A huge section of The Kingsway has been in the dark for over a month and one local business owner says he’s had enough.

Geoff Marriott owns Henry VIII Ale House and says it’s been over 45 days since the streetlights have worked overnight on Bloor Street West from Montgomery Road to Prince Edward Drive North in Etobicoke.

“Forty-five days. No streetlights. That’s totally unacceptable,” he said.

According to Marriott, the streetlights are on timers and go off around midnight, leaving the entire strip in near-complete darkness.

He said the situation has him worried about the safety of his staff as well as his customers.

“It became an ongoing issue with staff walking home at night, it’s dangerous … a lot of the restaurants and bars in the area are open passed then and staff do walk home to the subway and it’s totally unsafe for them.”

A couple walks in the dark along Bloor in The Kingsway, Aug. 10, 2017. CITYNEWS

Marriott said he contacted his city councillor as well as The Kingsway BIA to find out what was going on but got very few answers.

“They didn’t have any relevant answers for me. They told me that they were working on it and the last update they got (from Toronto Hydro) was from June 28th that said they were working on it,” he said.

“The city basically said it was Toronto Hydro’s issue.”

Toronto Hydro Brian Buchan told CityNews hydro in the area was compromised while construction crews were working in the area, which was then paved over. This made it difficult to find exactly where the fault happened.

As well, the landscape of The Kingsway has provided unique challenges for crews to put a temporary solution in place.

“A temporary solution is actually not very easy because the poles are not close enough together, there’s a lot of obstructions there, so we can’t just string it line to line as we normally do,” he explained.

“We have a crew actually going in right now. They are working to try to get as many on as they can right now, as safely as possible, stringing each one line to line as best we can.”

For a permanent fix, Buchan said crews are going to have to get underneath the roadway, which will be a substantially larger undertaking.

But he said he’s been working with the BIA and city councillor Justin Di Ciano to find a solution.

“Obviously it’s a concern when the streetlights are out, that’s why we’ve been actively working to try to remedy the situation,” Buchan said.

Di Ciano calls the situation “concerning” but said he has spoken with Toronto Hydro and a temporary solution will be in place by tonight.

As for a permanent solution, Kingway residents and businesses will have to wait a little longer.

“(Toronto Hydro) have promised me that by the end of September permanent power will be restored to the lights. So it will be a few more weeks,” said Di Ciano.

That will be just in time for the annual Taste of the Kingsway festival.

“Taste of The Kingway is a huge event, lots of folks think it’s one of the top 20 events in the city,” Di Ciano said.

“It gets very, very busy. So we want to make sure during the evening time when the festival is going on, that it’s safe and people can see where they’re going.”