June 27th, 2009
Councillor Adam Giambrone, Chair TTC
Gary Webster, General Manager, TTC
1900 Yonge St
Yesterday City Council approved the purchase of the new Light Rail Vehicles which will double the carrying capacity on congested lines as Queen Street. This is a wonderful transit improvement for downtown.
With the purchase approval in place, the site requirement for the LRVs becomes very real. I understand that City Council will make a decision on the site at the next Council meeting, however today I am requesting that you eliminate the Eastern Avenue site from your list of preferred sites. At Council I will be supporting the Ashbridges Bay location.
During the Open House, I heard concerns from many in the film industry about the affect this location would have on the Studio District. As this was such a serious matter I asked that the City’s Film Board urgently consider this issue. TTC staff attended and presented the sites. The members of the Film Board executive were unanimous in asking TTC to remove Eastern as a consideration since there can be no guarantee that vibration and noise would not negatively impact the Studio District operations.
While all Leslieville residents are very supportive of public transit and the new vehicles, they have expressed strong concerns over potential noise and have suggested that since there are other options such as either Ashbridges or Unwin, that these be considered instead. I share all of the above concerns.
The Eastern Avenue site was one of the preferred sites as it is in an employment district and is zoned for these kinds of well paying, non-retail jobs. While the TTC facility will create 540 new jobs in the neighbourhood, the potential vibrations and noise for local residents and the surrounding film studios mitigate against it being the best location.
I would ask that the TTC undertake a local training and hiring initiative in cooperation with city staff and a local employment agency such as WoodGreen. No matter where the facility goes in the Port Lands, I will champion a local training and hiring plan for the new jobs that are to be created.
CC: Mayor David Miller
Joseph Pennachetti, City Manager
Councillor Sandra Bussin
Councillor Shelley Carroll
Michael Williams, General Manager Economic Development, Culture and Tourism
Peter Finestone, Film Commissioner
Susan Murdoch, Co-Chair Toronto Film Board
Ulli Watkiss, City Clerk
Elaine Baxter-Trahair, Waterfront Project Director
Kelly Carmichael, East Toronto Community Coalition
Brian Smith, President WoodGreen Community Services
Ron Haney, President, Directors Guild of Canada
Bob Hall, President, IATSE Local 873 Film Technicians
Jonathan Ahee, President, NABET Local 700 Film Technicians
Ciaran Copelin, President, IATSE Local 667 Cinematographers