• LETTER: Call before you dig - but don't expect much help


    The article in the North Shore News on contacting BC One Call to locate utilities before you dig, and on digging practices, is helpful but misses a key point.

    Apparently unlike all other provinces, in B.C. no legislation exists to require B.C. utilities to do an onsite locate of the various utilities. They will send you a map. The one we got was over 28 years old, and the neighbourhood has changed. It was too vague to be of any use.

    When we asked Fortis if they would attend and do an on-site locate, even for money, they refused. They told us Telus and BC Hydro are the same. We would have to hire a private contractor for $250 to $300. Do they really wonder why people still dig without positive locates and do damage?

    BC One Call confirmed that there is no legislation in B.C. requiring utilities to do an on-site locate and that the utilities do not do them. They are only required to have a positive response to a locate request and apparently the 28-year-old map Fortis sent me fulfills that requirement. BC One Call confirmed that B.C. is the only province that takes this approach, but thought that companies with high pressure lines will do physical locates.

    In Aurora, Ontario, when my son wanted a locate to install a basketball net, a technician was there the next day and located all the utilities except cable TV (or phone) in half an hour, for no charge.

    I have passed this information to the federal senate committee that is investigating this issue countrywide. However, I would encourage our utilities to move on this issue without government prodding.

    John Hunter

    North Vancouver

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