At Scarborough rail construction site, mayor invites public input on future SmartTrack and GO stations across GTA
Oct. 10, 2017
Mayor John Tory spoke to reporters near Scarborough Regional Express Rail lines on Huntingwood Drive between Kennedy Road and Midland Avenue on Tuesday morning, promoting public consultations happening this week for transit station building that is planned to begin in the next decade.
The purpose of the public meetings is to simultaneously promote and get feedback on eight rail stations planned to be built over the next decade. Six of these are on the Lincolnville (Stouffville) GO line, are paid for in part by by the City of Toronto, and are under Tory’s brand of SmartTrack, which he introduced as part of his election platform in 2014. The other two stations are on the Allandale Waterfront (Barrie) GO line, and are not part of SmartTrack.
The next municipal election is set for a year from now (October 2018), and unknown if Tory will use SmartTrack again as part of his reelection campaign platform (to officially begin in May 2018). In the meantime, the City of Toronto has adopted the name as its own despite the fact that as of Tuesday night, the public consultation meetings to be held by city staff – and the one that’s already passed – were still not posted on the city’s public consultation calendar, and information about the consultations was released on the city website, dated Oct. 10, the same day as the first consultation at Scarborough Civic Centre.
Spokesperson for Mayor Tory’s office Don Peat wrote in an email that the city advertised the meetings two weeks ago according to city practice: through the city’s website, mailing lists through a contact form on a special SmartTrack website (http://smarttrack.to/contact-us/), and notifications through councillors’ offices.
“The public is being asked for their input into the ways these stations will fit into their community, how we can improve access to the stations,” director of transit and transportation planning for the City of Toronto James Perttula said at the media preview of the public consultations.
The question of whether all the stations will actually be built has no clear answer. Perttula confirmed that the Lawrence Kennedy station in Scarborough is under review, but the issue of whether the station should or should not exists isn’t a focus of the meeting. “The focus of these meetings is about getting people’s input into the station design, and what should this station look like, not about should this station exist or not. We are building that case.”
As for what Tory hopes will come from the public consultations, the mayor said he would like to hear members of the public bring local knowledge about the areas where development on the rail lines is occurring.
“There are a lot of things that people have opinions on, and they have opinions based on just their opinion, but sometimes based on their own neighbourhood,” Tory said from beside the rail line near the Lawrence Kennedy station in question. “I hope they’ll talk to us about exactly where the stations should be sited. There are obviously constraints that cause us to have to locate it on one corner as opposed to another. ”
Tory also said he hopes the public will give ideas on station design, noise, and safety, adding that he’s hopeful that bid competition for who will build the stations will occur sometime next year.
“Anything people have to say is welcome input,” Tory said, explaining that the parameters of the station requirements are being worked out now.