Metrolinx announcement to cut trees just the latest move to upset residents

Protests have raged ever since the Ontario Line was announced

Metrolinx cut down trees
Metrolinx cut down trees around Jimmie Simpson Park. (Liam LaChapelle-Yonson/Toronto Observer) 

The recent announcement by Metrolinx to cut down trees at Jimmie Simpson Park is just the tip of the iceberg for what has residents upset.

Protests, spearheaded by the Save JImmie Simpson group, started when the Ontario Line Act was announced in 2018.

“We were all shocked to learn that we were now going to have two more tracks running Ontario Line trains, above ground — every 90 seconds,” said Shelly Kline, a resident and member of the Lake Shore East Community Advisory Community. “We were now going from three tracks to six tracks, from 225 trains per day, to a whopping 1,500 trains per day.”

Lack of communication charged

To make room for the project, Metrolinx announced they would be removing trees.

Much of the pushback by residents has been over lack of communication.

“Metrolinx’s communication about plans to the community is terrible at best, and COVID gave them an excuse to muzzle us,” Kline said.

Online town hall formats allowed only a few people to speak and ask questions, and then not be given a chance to respond, she said.

Parents at Pape Avenue Public School echoed the sentiment.

“They say a lot of things, but they don’t offer a lot of actual answers and there’s not a lot of follow-through with the answers they do give us,” said Daniel Miller, a member of the school’s parent council. “It’s often very vague.”

‘Choosing speed over safety’

Residents want Metrolinx to provide a safety plan, Miller said.

“Right now there [are] literally trucks backing up next to children who are playing on the playground,” Miller said. “I think they are choosing speed over safety.

Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns said he intends to address these concerns of residents and hold Metrolinx accountable.

“I intend to work with the local business associations as the Ontario Line development proceeds and convey those to Metrolinx, to ensure that voices are heard,” Tabuns said in an email.

Metrolinx did not respond when asked for comment about these calls for transparency and accountability. 

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Posted: Jan 31 2023 12:14 pm
Filed under: News