In August 2019, the Ford government replaced the approved Relief line with their own Ontario Line. Ontario Regulation Ontario Regulation 248/19, which became law on August 10, 2019, prescribes the City of Toronto’s Relief Line as the sole responsibility of Metrolinx, with the intention that it will be replaced by the new Ontario Line. Under these new Provincial regulations the City and the TTC could no longer legally do any work on the Relief Line – further delaying the much needed transit infrastructure.
In October 2019, over 200 letters and dozens of speakers spoke to Executive Committee asking the Mayor and City Council to stand up for our neighbourhood. You can watch your neighbours here.
I championed these safety and community issues and that resulted in City Council passing motions requesting Metrolinx take appropriate action regarding safety concerns and community impacts of the Ontario Line, including the protection of parks, local services and community centres.
On January 29, 2020 City Council called for the Province and Metrolinx to undertake a full, formal Transit Project Assessment Process that would consider alternative technology, station locations and alignment, including putting the Gerrard to Don River section underground.
Alas, Metrolinx has not heeded these requests from Toronto City Council. At a community meeting on May 13, 2020, and subsequently on various occasions, Metrolinx advised that they are not considering burying the section of the Ontario Line from East Harbour to Gerrard as requested by the community and the City of Toronto, but are only looking at an above ground line in the current heavy rail railway corridor.
The impact of this on Jimmy Simpson Park and Recreation Centre is of great concern to me and many in the community. At the July 2020 City Council meeting, I moved another successful motion to have City staff work to address any negative impacts either during construction or after the Ontario Line might have on this important community asset.
In September, Metrolinx started releasing further details on their Ontario Line plan. So, at the September 30th Council meeting, I moved successful motions calling for City Staff to report back:
- on the impacts to Jimmie Simpson Park & Rec Centre and the 7 other well-loved parks along the tracks
- with a price comparison of constructing the Ontario Line above ground as compared to underground from Don River to Gerrard and the same for the Eglinton Ave W LRT extension
- with an update on my previous motions on safety, constructability and community impacts
In September 2019, MPP Peter Tabuns and I held a meeting with community members concerned about the above ground portion of the Ontario Line which is proposed to run along the GO tracks from Eastern to Gerard, as well as the northern section up Pape to the Don Valley. There are a lot of concerns about noise, vibration, safety, impacts businesses, parks and green spaces along the GO corridor and concerns about the location and impact of the new bridge over the Don Valley.
Peter and I held a Community Action Meeting to organize our community’s response to the Ontario Line on January 15, 2020. Metrolinx also hosted a series of Open Houses in late January/early February 2020. I requested that they include an East York meeting as a part of that and they agreed.
Peter and I held an online meeting to update the community. You can read more about that on this page. We also released this statement on the anniversary of Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario releasing their Initial Business Case for the Ontario Line.
MPP Peter Tabuns and I are hosting a virtual public meeting on the south section of the Ontario Line.
Date: October 8th, 2020
As well, MPP Peter Tabuns and I will be hosting a meeting specifically for residents who are impacted by the North of Danforth section of the Ontario Line.
Date: October 16th
Please email [email protected] for details.
Ontario Line – Virtual Public Meetings on Bill 171
The Provincial Government held, on June 8-10 2020, virtual hearings on Bill 171, the Building Transit Faster Act, 2020. This Bill would increase the powers of the Provincial Government in respect to Transit Projects like the Ontario Line, and decrease the already limited powers of municipalities.
I notified the community on how they might participate in these hearings and let the provincial government know their views on the matter. I also deputed on June 8th to express community concerns about this project.
Upcoming Metrolinx Public Open Houses
to be announced
You can also visit Metrolinx’s Ontario Line website on line here and the Ontario Line Environmental Conditions Report here.