Mike Sullivan had a crowd of at least 60 people on hand last night as he outlined some of the latest news in the ongoing Airport Link saga. The level of interest and concern was indicated by the fact that nobody left before the end. Guest speaker, Davenport MPP Jonah Schein spoke about the need to lobby politicians for change and how important it is that citizens make their views known. His riding is to be similarly affected by the noisy diesels of the Airport Link.
The latest developments range from the mundane to the outrageous. The bottom line, if Weston wishes to be treated like a doormat, all we have to do is lie here passively and politicians, autonomous government organizations and developers will trample all over us.
Here are some of the highlights:
Trains and Transit
The province is still determined to build a diesel rather than an electric link. The Japanese class 4 diesel trains are ordered but not built. Because the electrification study recommended electrification, people have been fooled into thinking that the line will be electrified immediately but as it stands, will not be for several years.
Class 4 diesel trains pollute to the same standards as those for city buses. GO trains pollute more. In spite of this, the proposed rail link will create more pollution because estimated passenger numbers are only about 12 per carriage or 24 per train. 24 cars would pollute less.
The Airport Link trains require a different platform height to GO trains and need a separate platform.
The City of Toronto Official Plan calls for a GO station at Liberty Village. GO has no plans for this.
Weston has the second highest intersection of public transit routes in the city yet is not considered a ‘Hub’ because the links do not intersect at right angles. Other hubs are sparsely populated while 10,000 people live in Weston’s high rise buildings not to mention other forms of housing.
Great Idea from an audience member:
This line could meet the definition of an above ground subway. Subway trains would allow more stops along the line without increasing the Pearson to Union travelling time. Subways have much lower noise and pollution levels.
Failing that—the Japanese trains are alleged to be convertible to electric operation—why not do the job now?
Bridges and Tunnels:
The John Street pedestrian bridge is down to four contenders. The pedestrian bridge across Lawrence will not be built for a couple of years. It will be to the west of the railway bridge. It would have been nice if the extension to the rail track and the pedestrian bridge could have been built together rather than putting motorists through two sets of delays.
There will be two tunnels under the railway lines; one at the station itself and another at the south end parking lot. The station tunnel should logically go under the CP tracks but CP is being ‘difficult’. If it went under the CP tracks it could emerge by the Tim Hortons parking lot.
We are #3 on Humber College’s list of possible sites although they would love to have a campus at the station.
The YMCA is looking for a site to build a facility and has expressed interest in opening a Weston branch.
John Street Parking:
The Toronto Parking Authority owns the current GO parking lot where the Farmers’ Market is held. It has tendered out to a real estate broker with a view to selling to a developer but the details are confidential. This is Weston land and belonged to Weston Village before amalgamation. The site might be ideal for the YMCA with space for a farmers market and residential housing.
Councillor Nunziata has contacted WestonWeb to say that the John Street parking lot is being developed to accommodate a year-round farmers’ market, cultural hub and affordable condo living / workspace for artists. She goes on to say that nothing is being done behind closed doors. Perhaps she can shed some light on this topic on March 14th.
Students from St. John the Evangelist Catholic School are currently being bused 40 minutes each way to Brother Edmund Rice during Rail Link construction. Their school is slated for an addition / rebuilding but the Toronto Catholic School Board and the Province haven’t got their act together. Mike Sullivan wonders why work isn’t going on now while students are already inconvenienced.
The giant billboard on CN property is still a go. This is to be a giant TV screen four times larger than the current static one. The company that runs these things is looking for extended hours so that the lights will be on longer. There will be a meeting to discuss the issue and strategies to oppose the billboard on March 14 at 1901 Weston at 7:00pm. This will be the start of many such abominations throughout the city.
The minority provincial government is in a precarious situation and is anxious that support not be eroded further. The Province is behind the project and tells Metrolinx what to do. The Premier and MPP Laura Albanese need to hear the message that people are not happy with what is going on.
Residents of Weston are asked to contact politicians at all levels and encourage them to support electrification along with the points noted above.
- Laura Albanese (MPP) email: [email protected]
- Dalton McGuinty (Premier) email: (form)
- Rob Ford (Mayor) email: [email protected]
- Frances Nunziata (Councillor) email: [email protected]
- Mike Sullivan (MP) email: [email protected]
- Frank D’Amico (Catholic School Trustee) email: [email protected]