Eglinton West residents get first look at new cross town subway station

Questions, concerns and ideas were at the forefront of an open house for residents of the Keele Street and Eglinton Avenue West area to learn more about the design of their new subway station.

The Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx held the presentation in the cafeteria of York Memorial Collegiate Institute Thursday night, and a steady stream of residents took the opportunity to see what was in store for their transit future along the new Eglinton-Scarborough crosstown subway line.

David Nagler, the TTC’s community relations team lead, said construction has already started on the line with shovels in the ground at Keelesdale Park on Eglinton Avenue West, between Black Creek Drive and Keele Street.

“Basically we are building a giant hole in the ground,” Nagler said. “We will be decking over Eglinton and shifting the traffic north.

“Late this summer, our tunnelling machines will be delivered in parts — they’re so big they have to be lowered in by crane. They assemble them below ground and there will be two giant tunnels that will be dug out and we’ll launch them towards Allen Road.”

Mitzy Titon, a resident of the area for 55 years, attended last night’s open house and is hoping that the massive project doesn’t get cancelled, as happened in the 1990’s when former Ontario Premier Mike Harris cancelled construction, despite work having already started.

“Twenty years ago they started and then they filled it up,” Titon said. “A lot of people here really want this to happen, if this is not going to go through it’s a lot of money spent for nothing.”

Construction of the new Keele-Eglinton West station will require some local businesses to relocate, residents learned.

Anna Pace the director of strategic partnerships for the TTC, explained the main entrance of the station is set to be built at Eglinton Avenue West and Trethewey Drive, where there is currently an EMS Station.

“All the affected property owners have been given letters indicating that we are interested in their property for the project,” Pace said.

Everett Cooper, who is on the board of the Eglinton Hill Business Improvement Area, also attended Thursday night’s information session. He said his main goal was to find out if the new station was good news for the community.

“My concern is to see what it’s going to do for beautifying the neighborhood, and what benefit we gain from it,” Cooper said. “Will [the project] provide work for the people in the community? These are questions that are unanswered.”

John Batchelor the project manager for the engineering design firm ARUP, one of the contractors building the station, said he was confident the underground portion of the new crosstown line would be built, no matter what happens at city hall.

 Whatever changes happen with the democratic process, everybody’s agreed that in between Eglinton West and right through to Yonge [Street] it has to be underground,” Batchelor said.