Matlow and Tory at odds over info needed for Scarborough transit decision

Mar. 28, 2017

City council approved the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Centre via the McCowan alignment (and not Brimley), and the continuation of the Triton bus terminal concept.

There was a hint that the “one-stop” extension could become two stops based on a motion from Councillor David Shiner, who requested design work and estimated costs to rough-in a station at Lawrence Avenue East. During questions at Tuesday’s city council meeting, city staff provided an estimate of $300 million for the costs of building the walls. That vote resulted in 21 for and 23 against — narrowly losing by two votes.

A surge of support for LRT options came in two waves, from midtown Councillor Josh Matlow and Scarborough Councillor Paul Ainslie.

Ainslie successfully moved that funds be made available for the Eglinton East LRT, and that a construction timetable for the project be ready within one year. He also moved that the Scarborough subway extension and Eglinton East LRT be considered as one project in future reports to city council.

Matlow did not have council’s support for his motion that the city manager report to executive committee by this summer for a Business Case Analysis comparison of the subway versus the LRT “as defined by the Master Agreement.” City staff did confirm to Matlow that the LRT master agreement is “in effect” during the questions. Matlow wanted to see an “apples to apples” comparison of the subway versus light rail plans.

“I will always ask for the facts to be on the floor when we’re debating such significant issues that affect billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money and the basic quality of life of Scarborough residents and residents across the city,” Matlow told reporters after the vote.

“My guess is that there has never been a transit project in the history of this city that has received more analysis, had more reports written about it and had more studies done on it than this one,” Mayor John Tory said at the end of the day. “And I’m simply saying that if this study [proposed today] wasn’t good enough or didn’t come to the right conclusion, there would be a request for another one, and then another one after that. And I’m saying that the people of Toronto have been quite clear to me: they want us to get on with building transit in Scarborough and in the rest of the city.”