Residents of Thorncliffe Park are fighting against Project Metrolinx

The group claims that of all the Toronto neighborhoods that Metrolinx considered, theirs are the poorest and least expensive plank.

Our community has been targeted in this arena of regulationKaynat Shaikh, 26, is a member of SaveTPark, a mostly resident group that formed last spring to fight the Metrolinx project.

If the project was changed to go elsewhere, would they consider creating a rallying ground in a richer socioeconomic community? Probably not, which is very clear.

Quote from:Kainat Sheikh, resident of Thorncliff Park

Metrolinx announced in a blog post in April that the Thorncliffe Park neighborhood has been selected to host 175,000 square meters of maintenance and storage facilities.

This is roughly the size of 24 football fields.

Aerial view of the site.

Metrolinx says it researched nine sites before choosing a “hybrid” site located between the northern part of Thorncliffe Park and the southern edge of the Wicksteed Industrial Estate.

Photo: CBC/Susan Reed

This assembly yard serves the Ontario Line, a 15-stop subway line that runs from Ontario Place to Ontario Science Center.

Currently, this area is home to a mix of small businesses and an industrial park, located on the north side of Overlea Street, between Millwood Road and Thorncliffe Park Drive.

Since the announcement in the spring, SaveTPark has put up posters and written letters to Ontario Premier Doug Ford. The petition against Project Metrolinx now has more than 10,000 signatures.

The majority of this community works for its own survivalAs Amer Sakhira 41 says.

He says most people in the area don’t have the time. To fight a giant like Metrolinx.

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I feel like he saw a Metrolinx [Thorncliffe Park] as an opportunity […] Simply because it is the path of least resistance.

About 30 thousand people live in the neighborhood of Thorncliffe Park, many of them are New Canadians from Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. It is not uncommon for two or three families to live together in rented buildings in the neighborhood.

The area is densely populated: there are more than 7000 people per square kilometer. The school Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, newly built, teaches only kindergarten. Students are divided into 23 semesters. It is the largest school of its kind in Canada.

Close-up of the face of a man with a beard and short hair.

Amer Sakhira helped set up a food bank in Thorncliffe Park during the pandemic. He worries that the yard could affect local jobs — something Metrolinx opposes. The company says that all jobs in the region will be maintained and another 300 jobs will be added.

Photo: CBC/Ivan Mitsui

Therefore, it is difficult to reconcile the loss of such a large plot of land with a storage facility belonging to Metrolinx, according to Mr. Sukhira.

What the neighborhood really needs, he says, is affordable housing, an indoor pool, and a community recreation center.

Quote from:Amer Sakhira, resident of Thorncliff Park

Mr. Sukhera and the SaveTPark Group have provided an alternative location to Metrolinx, located within walking distance of the current proposal.

They add that they have raised their main concerns with the county agency: noise, pollution, and the impact on the economy and jobs.

thoughtful project

The alternative site suggested by residents was one that the provincial transportation agency had previously investigated, but decided that many jobs would be at risk, says Malcolm Mackay, project manager for the Metrolinx for the Ontario Line.

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We have carefully studied all the ideas that have been presented, Determines.

Map identifying specific areas.

The Maintenance and Storage Facility will be used to store, inspect, clean and maintain trains along the Ontario Line.

Photo: Metrolinx

In an open letter to the community in August, Metrolinx Chairman Phil Verster said the decision to build in the Thorncliffe Park neighborhood was not based on Institutional racism, but rather Policy-oriented site selection criteria In order to find the best possible site.

We have no desire to fight with society. We want to work with the community, understand it, understand what matters so we can improve things thanks to the access of public transportation.Mr. Mackay said.

on deaf ears

Representative Rob Oliphant, Representative Kathleen Wynne and City Councilman Jay Robinson sent a joint letter at the end of August to Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Minister of Transportation Carolyn Mulroney, saying they were ‘surprised by the decision and upset by what they see as a lack of consultation with the community.

In May, the Toronto City Council also unanimously passed a proposal to move the maintenance and storage facility.

Ms. Robinson suggested creating smaller crowd squares across the line to reduce the impact on a single neighborhood.

All of this fell on deaf earsSays Robinson, who describes the past months of dealing with Metrolinx as maddening.

They refuse to think of anything other than this gigantic facility in the heart of Thorncliffe Park, which is geographically small – one of the smaller neighborhoods in Don Valley West or that part of Toronto.

Quote from:Jay Robinson, City Councilman

Ms. Wayne says she has invited Ms Mulroney to several community round tables, but the transportation secretary has never attended, instead sending her chief of staff on one occasion.

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It’s not just Metrolinx, the government agency, that should be held accountable because they got a mandate from the county government., explains Ms. Wayne, former Prime Minister of Ontario.

What I know from reading between the lines is that they have not been given permission to make any significant changes and that the political authority does not deal with the residents of Thorncliffe Park.

CBC Toronto contacted Caroline Mulroney’s office, but Mulroney replied that she was not available. In an email, a spokesperson wrote that Metrolinx is [le] Best point of contact for this particular topic.

Based on information from Shannon Martin

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