Council asks for rail oversight

A council motion seconded by Frances Nunziata asks Transport Canada to review the CP Line that runs through Weston and ensure that it is safe and in good repair.

Council is also asking Transport Canada to look at alternative modes of transporting hazardous materials and to consider re-routing trains carrying hazardous materials to keep them out of town.

The motion sprung from the Lac Megantic disaster, in which dozens were killed and a village downtown destroyed after railcars carrying petroleum exploded. CN does not reveal how often dangerous goods are transported through Toronto—but 7% of railcars in Hamilton are.

Cultural hub announced

Weston will be getting a ‘cultural hub’, Frances Nunziata announced earlier this week.

33 King will be redeveloped to hold an 8500 square foot cultural space and 24 artists’ live-work spaces. Much of the parking lot will become a residential apartments—townhomes and an 18 storey tower.

The abandoned lot to the east was recently expropriated and will now be turned into a much smaller parking lot. The farmers’ market will shift a little east toward the tracks.

Artscape, who did a fantastic job of the Wychwood barns on St Clair, and who have made a number of other excellent artists’ spaces around the city, will be behind the project, and Rockport Group will be the developers.

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Mike Sullivan’s complaint dismissed

The Canadian Transportation Agency has rejected Mike Sullivan’s complaint about noise and vibrations caused by construction of the UP Express.

Sullivan filed the complaint on behalf of residents last fall saying that the construction was having an adverse effect in Weston. If they CTA had sided with Sullivan, they would have forbidden Metrolinx from working noisily after 7 in the evening.

But the CTA did not side with him. They first dismissed part of his complaint, saying that dirt and dust are outside their purview. They then considered whether Metrolinx was causing “only such noise and vibration as is reasonable”.

The CTA agreed that noise and vibration causes “substantial interference”, but they said that this was reasonable and that Metrolinx has been trying to mitigate the issues. They also said that Metrolinx is obliged to do the work in time for the Pan Am games. They dismissed the complaint.

 

Sparks fly on electric trains

The Junction Triangle Rail Committee says that the provincial NDP has abandoned electrification of the ARL to save seats in northern Ontario. The NDP, the group says, has said not made electrification of the UP Express a condition of supporting the 2014 budget.

The party is afraid of a backlash in Northern Ontario if they push electrification of the West Toronto rail corridor because rail services in the North where they hold seats have been cut. Calling it ‘just a local issue,’ Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo says forcing electrification as part of the budget would be politically unwise.

The vocal downtown organization says the NDP’s decision is a “broken promise and a huge disappointment”.

Tory and Liberal tag team destroys electrification hopes.

The second reading of Davenport MPP Jonah Schein’s private members bill to electrify the Union Pearson Express was unable to withstand the combined vote of minority governing Liberals and opposition P.C.s. and was consequently defeated. Precisely what interest the Hudak Tories have in blocking the bill is a mystery because passing a private member’s bill would not have triggered an election. Perhaps they have their own plans for the line if they can form a government after a possible spring election. Besides, anyone looking to the Tories for cleaner air is likely a cock-eyed optimist. The Liberals’ excuse is that they have to wait for the environmental study (a.k.a. delay of game) before acting. The depressing Hansard transcript (including some lovely eye-rolling moments) is on Jonah Schein’s site.

Read more in Oye Times.

Metrolinx ordered to answer some questions about construction

The Canadian Transportation Authority has ordered Metrolinx to answer questions about the ongoing construction in Weston.

Mike Sullivan, our MP, lodged a complaint with the CTA this year on behalf of residents. The CTA has asked Metrolinx to make clear what construction is happening, when it is going on, how much noise is being generated, how the noise is being mitigated, and whether Metrolinx has studied the noise.

If the CTA finds that the railway noise is unreasonable, it can order Metrolinx to make changes. The CTA will make its decision by mid-March.

Vibration testing and concrete pours

Metrolinx will be conducting a vibration test to see if the tracks should be padded to reduce rumbling in the neighbourhood. Seven tests of about five minutes each will be performed over the next week in three locations around Weston.

Mount Dennis will be getting “ballast mats”—rubbery mats that line the track bed to absorb some of the rumbling. Perhaps if I can get than nincompoop who parks outside my house with his stereo on to head down to Church Street at the right time next week, we’ll get ballast mats too.

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In other construction news, Metrolinx will be undertaking another series of ‘continuous pours’. The pours are required to ensure the concrete sets as one slab. More cement trucks than usual will be entering and leaving, and some construction will be taking place during the night

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