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Mixed reviews on fibre installation

Telus construction has some residents frustrated, others pleased
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St. Albert resident Natalie Reilly is one of several residents who are unhappy with the mess the Telus fibre optic installation left behind in their yards. NATALIE REILLY/Photo

Some St. Albert residents are frustrated with the installation of Telus fibre optic in the city after their yards were left in a mess.

Natalie Reilly said construction in her yard went well and the construction workers were great, but after they finished the job they did not put her yard back the way it was when they started.

“They said it would go back to the way it was, but they didn’t really do a good job finishing it,” Reilly said.

Reilly’s husband went and spoke to the workers, who said they would come back and fix the mess but have yet to return to put the sod back in place or lay seed.

“The finished end result we are not pleased with,” said Reilly, who lives in Erin Ridge.

Reilly said she spoke with some of her neighbours, who said they were also upset with the final product after the Telus installation. One friend in Oakmont said her lawn was in terrible shape after the installation but said if they called Telus, they would come and fix it.

“I was kind of thinking why should we have to call? Then everybody will have to call.”

The construction is part of an upgrade to improve Telus internet speeds in the city by installing fibre optic cables through St. Albert.

In April, the corporation announced every household would have access to fire optic internet at no cost and the company plans to spend $100 million to connect 90 per cent of the city's businesses and neighbourhoods, along with Sturgeon County.

Other residents have complained about the mess left after the workers arrived, sharing stories of ripped up sod and displaced landscaping and are concerned they will need to pay out of pocket to fix the problems left in their yards.

One resident told the Gazette large holes were left uncovered and unmanned in their neighbourhood and was concerned about the safety of kids in the area, while others were concerned with wires being left out in the open.

The city says this is a Telus-lead project and there should be no costs borne by the homeowners.

“There is no cost to the city or homeowners for this work, and homeowners and businesses will have the opportunity to take advantage of this service if they wish,” said Dawny George, director of engineering, in an emailed statement.

“This work will be completed automatically and there is no requirement from the home owners to request or pay for these restorations.”

George said any areas that have been excavated will be replaced with fresh black dirt and seeded.

The city had also requested that Telus provide a letter and frequently asked questions to the residents with regard to the ongoing work.

A response to a council inquiry obtained by the Gazette said the city does not inspect work done on private properties.

“For work that is done on private property, it is the responsibility of the property owner and Telus to discuss what the extents of the construction and remediation strategies need to be as part of their agreements on private property,” the response read.

“In the City’s engineering standards, both seed and sod are noted as acceptable remediation processes to restore landscaping, and the contractors hired by Telus have done acceptable work up to this point and is in compliance with the City standards."

Although many residents the Gazette spoke with have been left frustrated, others are happy with the work that is being done.

Crystal Gossmann, who lives in Braeside, said she has been really pleased with the work and the workers.

“They cleaned up their mess everyday and they took the time to talk to me and my two boys about the hole they were digging in our front yard,” Gossmann said.

The mother said the workers even helped return her dog after he escaped on Monday.

"My dog somehow got out of my house and one of the workers returned him to my backyard. I was not home and they called telling me about the incident,” Gossman said.

The neighbourhoods of Erin Ridge, Oakmont, Inglewood, Deer Ridge and Braeside will all be getting fibre. Riel and Campbell business parks are scheduled for a 2019 installation and work is beginning in the northern section of the city and will move south as areas are completed.

Neighbourhoods scheduled for work in 2020 are still pending.

Anyone with questions about the project and installation may contact Ayanna Rhindress from Telus at 587-590-4395 or email ayanna.rhindress@telus.com.

Anyone with concerns regarding construction can contact Ledcor at 1-800-689-6331.

Telus did not respond to an inverview request before press time.




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Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.
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