I continue to communicate with Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, regarding their plans to build a rail bridge through our community, and to advocate for promised community benefits to be realised. Below is a letter that was sent to the CEO of Metrolinx on April 10. The CEO's response can be found here.
April 10, 2019
Phil Verster, CEO and President
97 Front Street West
Toronto ON M5J 1E6
Dear Mr. Verster,
I am writing to thank you for the March 22, 2019 briefing I received from Manuel Pedrosa on a number of projects affecting my riding of Davenport, particularly the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Davenport Diamond Guideway and Greenway. I understand Councillor Bailao also received an identical briefing from Mr. Pedrosa in January 2019.
There were a few points that I am eager to confirm and clarify that were raised in the briefing. I would appreciate your confirmation and follow up regarding these:
- The procurement process for the bridge has been separated from the public realm component.
- According to Mr. Pedrosa the public realm component will ‘definitely be proceeding’ but is dependent on ‘clarity from the City of Toronto’ regarding ties to their plans for bikes, etc.
- Due to recently announced Provincial Government changes in policy, procurement for the station at Lansdowne has been stalled while Metrolinx seeks out private interest in building the station. The station has already proceeded through a business case assessment process and Metrolinx is currently finalizing the ‘framework’ and taking meetings with developers.
- As a result of this delay in procurement and privatization of the Lansdowne station proposal, the Earlscourt pedestrian bridge component (which was part of the same environmental assessment as the station) is unlikely to be part of the plans that are currently underway and the City doesn’t have any current plan to build this either.
As you can imagine, we were shocked and saddened to learn — among other things — that the procurement process for the bridge has been separated from the public realm components. These components include the space under the raised Guideway -- new public space that was supposed to enhance the community experience and promote the area as a civic destination.
According to Metrolinx’s own webpage, this space was to include:
- multi-use paths for pedestrians and cyclists;
- outdoor workspaces with public WiFi;
- play spaces for children and families;
- beautiful pollinating gardens; and
- gathering spaces for the community.
Most importantly, these public realm components were developed after significant public outcry and, eventually, consultation concluding in March 2018. The community’s support for the project was absolutely contingent on this portion of the plan, and the idea that this part of the project was separated out and could therefore be at risk, is completely unacceptable.
On behalf of the residents of the Junction Triangle community and across the riding of Davenport, I welcome further clarification around this report in order to provide the community with a fulsome update on the status of all these projects. I would also ask for an urgent public meeting to discuss the implications of these changes with community members.
Thank you in advance for your urgent attention to this matter.
Marit Stiles MPP
Cc: Jessica Bell MPP
Councillor Ana Bailao
Hon. Jeff Yurek