This week you may have read a Toronto Star article, been alerted to news posted on neighbourhood list-servs or reviewed information on the Junction Triangle website that Metrolinx has announced plans to construct an elevated rail structure through our neighbourhood. I share the concerns of local residents regarding these plans and, although it is still early in the process, I have begun advocating to ensure the best possible outcomes from this project.
The plan, as proposed, is for Metrolinx to ramp up their tracks along the Barrie GO line from just north of Bloor Street and gradually elevate the tracks to more than 8 metres in order to bypass the CN Rail crossing north of Dupont.
This project will no doubt have major impacts on our area. While another long period of construction will leave us with a permanent visual landmark, there is also huge potential on the ground once the tracks are raised. We may be able knit our neighbourhoods back together with improved street connections, new and enhanced public spaces and world-class public art. Looking at these possibilities is the task of Metrolinx Residents Reference Panel. I will be watching this process closely and guarding against unrealistic expectations. It is critically important that any expectations that Metrolinx raises for community improvements are accompanied by the necessary funding to make them into reality.
I remain hopeful and open-minded after speaking with Metrolinx staff and having my office represent community interests at the DIGIN meeting on March 11th. At the same time I will be aggressively pursuing Metrolinx to ensure that the promised community benefits are funded and the corridor is electrified.
There will be more public meetings on this topic and I will keep you informed every step of the way. To ensure the most timely updates, please follow me on Twitter or on Facebook.