They have ripped up the better half of Dundas St. between Dovercourt and Lansdowne for sidewalk and streetscape reconstruction. It’s noisy and messy. But on the bright side the construction company seems to have learned from its mistakes on the north side of the street, because the crews have been pretty good, on the south side, helping mothers with strollers navigate the ramps and trenches to access the store where I work.

Rumour has it they’ll be ripping it all up again in October for more work, leaving me with no questions as to how our city money is spent and re-spent. Well, maybe one question.


I’m told that when the city has street work to be done, it has construction companies bid on the job. According to one insightful healthy food shopper, the scenario goes something like this:

1. Company 1 bids on the job saying that it will cost the city x dollars and take y time.
2. Company 2 makes a bid saying they can do it for half the cost and in half the time…because they have a dragon to help them.
3. Impressed, the city goes with company 2.

What happens then is that the job drags on, taking longer than scheduled, and ends up costing much more than quoted because, as we all know, there’s no such thing as dragons!

Now, you might think the city would do some research beforehand to cost their projects before believing in impossible fantasies. But they don’t. And so they do not know the real cost of things—which in the end costs us more.

It is a bit like the cost of food.

A real tomato does not cost 30 cents. This is what a tomato-like fruit costs, with added chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides because it is grown in depleted soil, and is likewise depleted of nutrients, like vitamin C, and has little flavour.

The cost of a real tomato grown under the sun in healthy soil, containing all the good taste and nutrients we expect from fresh food, is $1. That is the real cost. It is more expensive, but it is the cost of doing it right. The good thing is that there are no hidden costs that follow. In fact, you are compensated for the higher price with a cleaner environment, more vibrant local economy, and healthier food.

Doing things right the first time costs more, but at least we only have to pay it once.

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