Wednesday, October 31, 2007

London, Ontario, has an exciting day.

Downtown London (Ontario) is a disaster today. There is a giant sinkhole at the main intersection of the city (Dundas and Wellington Streets) and there are sections of the city without power because of cut power lines. Traffic conditions might best be described as chaotic. No, there was no terror attack. The problem, I imagine, is because London's infrastructure, as it is in many North American cities, is decaying. There is always money for frippery it seems, but not always for what really matters like drainage systems, water mains, sewers, and for fixing London's ubiquitous potholes.

One of the businesses I operate is a courier/messenger service. The drivers are having a lot of fun (he said sarcastically) getting around today. It seems that the people who are working in our downtown London buildings are still churning out documents and whatnot for our drivers to deliver, and are using candlelight to illuminate their workspaces. Maybe my drivers should be abandoning their vehicles and doing their deliveries on horseback instead. Where is the nearest stable?

I have read some pretty alarming facts and statistics about the state of infrastructure in North America. What has happened here in London today is going to be happening more and more frequently across Canada and the United States. Systems that should have been replaced decades ago are still in place and are growing more dangerous every day. As far as I know, no-one has been hurt by the sinkhole here in London, thank goodness.

I'm waiting to see what is going to happen next.

Update: My operations manager just popped his head into my office (yes, his body was attached) to announce that a downtown shopping mall is going to be shut down for at least a week, and a large office tower complex would be closed for a minimum of two days.


  1. We had this happen in Vancouver last year. It was a large pit for the construction of a new tower, and probably due to lack of support, a section of road (a full lane) about 20 feet long slid into the hole.

    Luckily no cars were there at the time and I don't think anyone was injured. Still, it was a huge danger, and a big inconvenience for a few weeks.

    I guess accidents happen, but you are right, many things aren't taken care of properly and end up failing because of it.

  2. I was just told (subject to verification) that the hole is about 10 X 10 X 10 meters, roughly 33 feet across and the same in depth. It was caused by a broken water main which flushed the soil away and also caused shorts in the electrical grid.

  3. Quite a HOLLOWeen prank, I must say :)
    It brings to mind the many places in Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged where the more bureaucratic, socialistic cronyism became rampant, the less anyone worked (for there was no reward in it any longer) and therefore, the more things deteriorated.
    There's this scene in the end where New York City's lights go out - NOT because of a terrorist attack, but because those who were not allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labor would not support the corrupt system any longer, and it collapsed under its own corpulent, indolent deadweight.
    That's one strike I'd like to organize!

  4. Out here, many of our problems seem to suffer from too many agencies and parties involved. There is one vital bridge which is being washed away by the meandering run-off waters. All the oil players, at least 3 federal agencies, state and county as well as the Indians have to agree on the matter. You know that the bridge will collapse long before that happens.

  5. Rand sure saw what collectivism would lead to, didn't she Galt? We're seeing the results everywhere and the real drama is yet to come. Lin, we have much the same problem here where everyone has to be on the 'same page' in order to get anything done, regardless of the merit of any particular position. It's a sure recipe for disaster.