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Wherein I keep a city crew from executing their task

April 17, 2015
A city Sewer Operation excavator sits idly but not for long.

A city Sewers Operations excavator sits idle but not for long.

Once again, this morning, I stopped on Hemlock Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue, to take stock of the work being done to upgrade the underground water and sewer lines.

Two of the workers i spoke to looked at me quizzically when I explained that the City of Vancouver described the street rehabilitation project along Hemlock Street as running from West 4th Avenue to West 15th Avenue. As far as these two fellows were concerned, the work started at 10th Avenue and would finish at 15th.

Was it on schedule to be all finished and repaved by the end of May? I asked them.

The two were unaware that the work was supposed to be finished in May but a third worker chimed in to tell me that the stretch of Hemlock Street I was standing on would be repaved in a matter of days.

Too early to witness this form of cruelty

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Like a Trojan lamb being led to slaughter.

As I was walking back to my bike and trailer, workers began to move the largest of three custom wooden concrete forms. As I stopped to watch, they dragged it over beside the large clawed bucket of the inert excavator.

I heard one of them say, in explanation to the other, that it was to be smashed — that it hadn’t fit.

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And then there were two.

One-by-one the three wooden forms, which had sat, seemingly in the same place, for over a week, were piled together so that they could be smashed to splinters by one swipe of the excavator bucket (which, If I’m reading correctly, could weigh over 1,000 pounds).

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Where are the blindfolds and cigarettes?

As I came back to take more photos, I explained to the workers why I was so interested — that I had this blog and that I had already published several posts about the ongoing work they were doing.

And I expressed my opinion, conversationally, about what a shame I thought it was that the forms had to be destroyed without ever having been used.

I related how, weeks ago, another worker had told me that one such large custom wooden form might’ve taken the city’s carpentry shop about a week to construct.

One of the workers eyed me and asked if I was going to run the pictures with “comments”.

“Uh huh”.

Another worker said he was going to make a phone call and bade the excavator operator to wait — he was sure the forms were supposed to be smashed but apparently he was going to double check.

I didn’t wait around to see the outcome. The worker who’d estimated the time it took to build one of the large wooden forms had also explained to me that they could only be used once and were necessarily destroyed in the removal process. One way or the other these forms were destined for destruction; it was the nature of the work.

And I let them get back to it. I was in no shape to watch an execution. I hadn’t even had my morning coffee. Click the images to enlarge them.

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A temporary stay of execution at best.

From → Fairview

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