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PRESS RELEASE: Community statement on City Council’s rejection of flawed Metrolinx plan

Today, City Council voted overwhelmingly — a staggering 38 to 1 — to reject Metrolinx’s plan to build a monster rail overpass through the middle of Davenport.

Even more importantly: councillors and city staff sounded the alarm about why this project is so dangerous.

Numerous councillors as well as chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat cautioned that if Metrolinx proceeds against the wishes of council, it would set a precedent for future projects.

Keesmaat explained that city staff have serious concerns with the proposed structure.

“If we look at best practices, quite frankly the world over, building overpasses for infrastructure is something that has fallen out of favour particularly because they do create very tough conditions at grade. And because of the visual impacts as well as the noise impacts you tend to sterilize the areas around this elevated infrastructure,” said Keesmaat.

Speaker Frances Nunziata pointed out that Metrolinx built a tunnel for Weston and “it was not an issue” and that she was “surprised” about what the agency is planning to do to Davenport.

City staff believe tunneling the route for the Davenport project is the best option.

Councillor David Shiner, chair of the Planning and Growth Committee, called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to personally intervene.

“We’re talking about a huge transformation, revitalization in this area, that could get severely impacted if you put this Gardiner Expressway in the sky flying over this community with trains going back and forth all day long,” he said.

Councillor Gord Perks moved a motion — which overwhelmingly passed — calling for elected representatives to once again be put on Metrolinx’s board in order to ensure accountability to citizens.

Davenport’s local councillor Ana Bailao strongly reiterated the position of the community: Davenport residents fully support transit expansion. They just don’t want a 3-storey, up to 3-track, 1.5 km rail overpass, shuttling up to 180 trains each day, dropped within metres of homes, parks, playgrounds, and businesses.

Options for Davenport — a local community group representing more than 1000 local residents — demand that Metrolinx respect the wishes of the City of Toronto and immediately halt their flawed plans for a rail overpass.

“We demand that Metrolinx properly study the logistics, impact and cost of a tunnel so that we can get on with smart transit expansion that will help — not hurt — communities,” said the group’s Chair, Laura Zeglen. “We would like to thank Toronto city council for standing up for its residents. And now we are calling on our local Liberal MPP, Cristina Martins, to join that fight and advocate for her community.”

Options for Davenport Community Group

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Follow us on Twitter: @Opt4Davenport