Dust, diesel and traffic jams.
For most Torontonians, say the word ‘construction’ and that’s what springs to mind.
For the residents of one West End neighbourhood, it’s been a couple years of complaining and petitions, all to no avail.
Last week, the Toronto and East York Community Council sided with property developer Canderel Stoneridge Equity Group, after months of complaints from residents and businesses about idling heavy machinery, blocked, muddy roads and noise stemming from Canderel’s construction of a new condominium project at 1030 King Street West.
Council had earlier reacted to the complaints by sending out city staff to investigate whether Canderel was living up to its site management plan, which sets the hours of work and outlines how heavy machinery are to be deployed.
City staff concluded the developer was living up to the plan and that while yes, there was some noise and traffic disruption, it was just the normal routine of building a big city.
Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton, (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) took up the fight for nearby residents, who charged that Canderel was working beyond agreed hours and had left heavy equipment idling and spewing diesel fumes as they blocked roads, leaving in their wake, much mud and debris.
“We’d been getting a lot of complaints that Canderel wasn’t following their construction management plan so I put forward a motion to have the company come forward with better alternatives for the area,” Layton said.
Darcy Moreau, who lives nearby, said “just to walk across the street to catch the bus was tricky since I’m manoeuvring around different cement trucks…”
For Moreau, the best alternative is for Canderel to finish its work and pack up.
“ It’s been about two years dealing with this dirt and the wooden planks lying by the streets, I hope they pick up the speed because it’s getting ridiculous,” Moreau said.
Vaidella Banelis, a senior partner at Zeidler Partnership Architects, and a project manager for numerous construction sites in Toronto, understands the importance of keeping a major construction site running efficiently, while dealing with disrupted residents.
“You can’t always factor everything ahead, but in tight urban sites where you have a project nearby, there are certain noises you just can’t get away from,” Banelis said.
Banelis believes that consulting neighbours about the noise beforehand, in addition to strict attention to time management, are key to solving these issues. Cooperation is also important.
“We work closely with city counsellors, along with area residents and business owners, and evaluate our construction plans together so we won’t step on each other’s toes,” Banelis said.
Canderel did not respond to requests for an interview.