Canadian Consulting Engineer

Bravo! ACEC and CEO refute Toronto Star columnist

John Gamble, P.Eng., president of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC), and Barry Steinberg, P.Eng., chief executive officer of Consulting Engineers of Ontario, have written a letter that was headlined in the Toronto Star...

December 3, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

John Gamble, P.Eng., president of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC), and Barry Steinberg, P.Eng., chief executive officer of Consulting Engineers of Ontario, have written a letter that was headlined in the Toronto Star newspaper on December 2.

Steinberg was responding to remark by architecture critic Christopher Hume in a column about infrastructure planning. Hume likes to dismiss engineers as bores who don’t appreciate good design.

Steinberg wrote: “The engineering sector in Ontario and across Canada has been appealing to governments for years to treat infrastructure investment as a long-term investment in our social, economic and environmental quality of life. . . .We are therefore surprised by Christopher Hume’s erroneous assertion that “infrastructure has been downgraded and handed over to engineers . . . who see no further than the bottom line.” The reality is that Consulting Engineers of Ontario and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies — Canada have been critical of short-term, bottom-line driven infrastructure decisions and have invested considerable resources in educating government and other stakeholders on the need for a long-term strategic approach to infrastructure development and renewal.

“Unfortunately, the trend in recent years has actually been to increasingly exclude engineers from such strategic decisions while our communities have continued to amass a significant infrastructure deficit. Marquee projects like the R.C. Harris filtration plant and the Bloor Street viaduct, which Mr. Hume cites in his article as example of Toronto’s most useful and beautiful structures, represent a time when engineering expertise was appropriately respected and infrastructure was in fact “handed over to engineers” to great success. We are hopeful that Glen Murray’s comment will result in more consultation between government and the engineering sector in Ontario and across the country. “

Note:  this article was corrected on December 3, 2013 4.25 p.m.


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