Internet cable installation turns into 'nightmare' for residents

Internet cable installation turns into 'nightmare' for residents

When workers from Bell Canada came to install fibre optic internet cables, Steve Stinson didn't know it would lead to the removal of the tree in his front yard.

"I'm going to lose it," Stinson told CBC Toronto, gesturing toward the large linden tree on his tiny property near Dupont and Shaw streets.

"It provides privacy and shade in the summer; it's a tragedy."

Stinson said the city workers will be by on Saturday to take down the tree.

He said Bell sent each household in the neighbourhood a pamphlet outlining what would happen during the installation. In it, the company specifies that a "small 12 inch-wide hole will be dug, and a network box will be fitted into the hole and covered by a small cap."

The pamphlet also insists that "Bell will make sure everything is as it was."

But things didn't go according to plan.

During the construction, workers cut deeply into the roots of the tree in Stinson's yard. He sent a picture to staff at the city's Urban Forestry Operations department, who promptly ordered the removal of the tree.

But that's not all.

The "small 12 inch-wide hole" for the network box, turned out to be a 33 inch-wide silver grate that takes up a large portion of Stinson's yard.

"They came and knocked on my door [and said] we'll leave your land exactly as it was," Stinson said. "They've basically lied to me."

A new tree to be planted

Bell originally responded to Stinson over Twitter, saying they are "sorry to see this," and that they were investigating.

Stinson said when he spoke to a representative on the phone he wasn't given any answers but was assured his issue was a high priority.

After CBC Toronto got in touch with the company, Bell Canada said they had spoken with Stinson to set up a meeting for Monday. 

They have also offered to have a new tree planted as soon as possible.

'It means a lot in the city to have greenery'

Nell Ban Meter, who lives on the same street, said a hedge she shares with her neighbours was saved when the people next door "went to bat" for the shrubs that took more than 20 years to grow.

"[The neighbour] phoned Bell and said, 'No way.' It means a lot in the city to have greenery. It beautifies the city — it's all concrete," Ban Meter said.

Ban Meter walked through the neighbourhood, pointing out another yard that had lilies more than a metre high removed for the construction. The area to the right of Stinson's walkway was dug up as well, tearing out iris bulbs his mother had given to him before she died.

Ironically, Stinson had been asking for Bell Gigabit Fibe to be installed in his neighbourhood for over a year. According to Bell's website, the service provides "the absolute fastest total [internet] speed on the market."

"The competition is welcome, but not at the cost of this nightmare I've been put through," Stinson said.