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PRESS RELEASE: Community Environmental Assessment Raises Serious Flaws in Metrolinx Overpass Plans

Standing beneath an elevated rail corridor while a GO Train passes overhead will sound as loud as standing 300 metres away from a jet taking off, or a jackhammer pounding the pavement directly beside you. This is among the findings of Options for Davenport’s “Our EA, Our Say” community Environmental Assessment, which included a noise study, detailed community survey and an evaluation of deficiencies in Metrolinx’s current proposal.

Options’ findings raise serious questions about Metrolinx’s promise that the overpass it plans to build will unlock useful public space.

“Metrolinx has talked about building a public square, farmer’s market and outdoor movie theatre under the overpass, but who is going to want to sit and watch a movie with a jet taking off overhead every 7 minutes?” Options spokesperson Sam Barbieri asked.

“Our EA, Our Say” also highlighted dozens of deficiencies with the provincial transit agency’s proposal to build a 1.45 km long overpass through the middle of Toronto’s Davenport neighbourhood, including a failure to adequately address:

  • Noise and vibration concerns, which are paramount to residents and local businesses.

  • Pressing concerns related to rail safety of an elevated overpass, pollution/air quality, crime, and soil contamination in this post-industrial neighbourhood.

  • The true cost of the overpass, tunnel and trench options have not yet been calculated. Metrolinx has yet to release long-term capital maintenance estimates. As we saw with the recent debate about how to deal with the Gardiner Expressway, initial costs only tell part of the story.

  • That there is still an alarming lack of public awareness about this project.

Given these outstanding issues, the group’s assessment concludes that a “Due Diligence option” is the most financially prudent solution, to allow for incremental service increases while the right approach for more substantial service increases is fully considered.

If money was no object, the group concludes that it is undeniable that a tunnel is the best option for the Barrie Corridor. It avoids almost all of the local residents’ concerns, while also achieving Metrolinx’s goals.

Options for Davenport, a grassroots community group, launched its own Environmental Assessment three months ago after Metrolinx declined to fully study solutions for the Barrie Corridor. Metrolinx instead proceeded with a TPAP process of the overpass option only, against the urgings of Toronto City Council, city planning staff, the local councillors, school board trustee and members of federal and provincial parliament.

Contact: Sam Barbieri, spokesperson: 416-779-9396