Swept away: Montrealers swim through city streets after watermain break

A broken water main sent water cascading down McTavish St., literally sweeping pedestrians off their feet, and flooded several buildings on the McGill campus.

There are several dramatic pictures and videos found online, including this Youtube video showing a woman washed down a street.

The wet pedestrian may be embarassed, but media reports indicate she is fine. The same can't be said about the state of Montreal's municipal infrastructure.


Rest of Canada joins in

Cold temperatures don't react well with old-fashioned pipes. The expansion and contraction combined with corrosion means that for many communities, breaks are inevitable. We've seen reports all month of watermain breaks in every province across Canada.

However, in some communities - even cold weather communities like Calgary, watermain breaks are much less frequent. Why?

Calgary's water system has been aggressively replacing their old pipes with PVC pipe for the last four decades. While they get an occasional broken pipe, a break in modern PVC pipe is practically unheard of. According to a recently released study, old-fashioned concrete and metal pipes are FAR more likely to shatter. In addition, check out the watermain break clock.



Hamilton axes 29 public works staff

The cleanup continues in Hamilton. First came the decision to allow fair and open competition for municipal procurement several years ago. Now, we're hearing the city’s decision to fire 29 front-line public works employees and suspend two more is only the first stage of an ongoing probe into widespread wrongdoing in the department.

The city is now in the second round of its investigation, which will focus on supervisors and superintendents, as well as allegations that the employees were selling city asphalt.



Corruption watch: Alleged concrete price-fixing investigated in Toronto

Canada’s Competition Bureau is investigating alleged price fixing among concrete companies involved in the GTA’s house-building industry.

The alleged price-fixing could have increased the cost of a new GTA home bought after 1997 anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000.




Ottawa looks to boost spending in 2013 budget

The Conservative government is preparing to commit long-term cash for infrastructure in its 2013 budget in an effort to squeeze more projects – including partnerships with the private sector – out of limited public funds.

In one of the very few areas of expected new spending, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 2013 budget will renew an existing infrastructure program that is entering its final year.

It's an initiative which deserves applause. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, together with the Canada West Foundation, provide an update on the proposals made by the Municipal Infrastructure Forum (MIF) for Budget 2013.

The MIF partners have designed a 20-year roadmap for governments to provide secure, and stable investment that will strengthen our economy and keep pace with Canada's growing needs.

Potential solutions could include things like large-scale irrigation networks. Similar to the hugely succesful program in Alberta, an irrigation network allows the agriculture community to be productive despite drought for generations to come.



Questions or comments?

Let me know whats going on in your community. We're always looking for stories of new construction innovations or unique infrastructure improvements.

Veso Sobot, P.Eng
Ipex Management Inc.
(905) 795-6113



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