Following the news that Metrolinx would renege on an agreement to provide surplus land for the creation of a community centre in the Jane and Finch area, I wrote the Minister of Transportation and Metrolinx CEO to once again seek assurances that the public realm components related to the Davenport Diamond Project would be maintained.
Below is the text of the letter:
Hon. Caroline Mulroney Minister of Transportation 5th Flr, 777 Bay St, Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8
President & CEO, Metrolinx Via email
July 23, 2020
Minister Mulroney and Mr. Verster,
I am writing following recent news that Metrolinx has decided to renege on an agreement to provide land in the Jane and Finch area for the creation of a new community centre and cultural hub. I share the concerns about this raised by the community and local MPP Tom Rakocevik about this sudden reversal.
As the MPP for Davenport, where the massive Davenport Diamond expansion project is underway, I’m sure you can appreciate the concerns I have that certain hard-fought public realm components associated
with that project could just as easily be disposed of. I have previously raised these concerns in meetings with Metrolinx representatives and in correspondence with you both.
Davenport is surrounded by rail. The impact of construction related to the Davenport Diamond is already very disruptive to local residents and businesses. One of the few benefits that the community was able to secure in exchange for this upheaval was a public domain component - underneath the bridge - as well as public art. The public art component has already been cancelled since the election of the Ford government, and we have been informed that changes must be made to the design of the community space under the bridge, due to design issues. We have been assured that the community liaison committee for this element of the project will be reconvened in late Fall 2020.
Metrolinx has struggled to gain community trust in Davenport and elsewhere. Recent news of the government’s influence over community relations is also concerning. The cancellation of the commitment to the Jane-Finch community is another blow to that fragile trust in our community.
In addition to urging you to reverse the egregious decision to sell off the land at Jane and Finch, I am
asking for assurance from the Ministry and from Metrolinx that the public realm components of the Davenport Diamond project are not at risk.
Marit Stiles, MPP