5 Good Reasons to Bury the Ontario Line

Save Jimmie Simpson! has prepared this info sheet to help you to write letters to government agencies and elected officials.

You can find some email addresses at the bottom of this page to send your letter to.

As a community, our asks are simple:

Put the Ontario Line underground in from north of Gerrard St E to south of Eastern Ave.
• A proper Health Impact Assessment (HIA) needs to be incorporated into the Environmental Assessment to understand the health impacts for the communities that surround the line.
• Do not fund the Ontario Line project until public health and environmental risks have been fully addressed and the public has been properly consulted.

1. Environmental & Public Health risks

The above ground alignment of the Ontario Line through Riverside and Leslieville expose residents to dangerous levels of noise, vibration and pollution.

• Current noise levels already exceed the Ontario Ministry of Environment and WHO guidelines. Doubling of rail tracks will expose residents to dangerous levels of noise and vibration.

• The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of adverse health impacts from exposure to low-frequency noise of railway traffic.

• Noise walls are not effective when significant noise reduction is required.

• Metrolinx conspicuously did not carry out a vibration study in our neighbourhood.

2. Rail Safety

The proposed expansion of rail corridor in a densely populated urban area and the resulting loss of setback distance poses significant safety concerns.

• Ontario Line trains will significantly breach the recommended setback distance from residential homes.

• Ontario Line trains will be travelling at less than 10 metres from residential homes, including social housing, while RAC/RCM guidelines recommend 30 metres.

• The 2015 Canadian Transportation Act Review recommends the establishment a “buffer zone.”

• The proposed track configuration envisions heavy and light rail trains travelling perilously close together.

3. Loss of Greenspaces

The above ground alignment of the Ontario Line endangers 6 parks and urban greenspaces (Bruce Mackey Park; Gerrard Carlaw Parkette; Jimmie Simpson Park; McCleary Playground; Saulter St. Parkette; Tiverton Avenue Parkette)

Academic research points to the importance of urban greenspace on the health and wellbeing of surrounding communities.

• Increased use of and exposure to urban greenspace is associated with increases in physical activity, children’s attention span, mental health and mood, as well as reductions in heart disease.

• The City of Toronto in their Parkland Strategy Report (November 2019) designated our neighbourhood as an Acquisition Priority Area where the city should work to provide more parkland.

• If our community were to lose these parks, the closest large urban greenspace will be about 2km away.

4. Lack of due diligence and lack of public consultation

• Metrolinx has not studied adverse health effects of long-term exposure to noise, vibration and air pollution. Despite running foul of a number of environmental and health standards, Metrolinx’s Environmental Impact Assessment will not include a Health Impact Assessment.

• Provincial changes to the Environmental Assessment Act have been rebuked by Auditor General as a violation of Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights.

• Metrolinx plans to build a 4th GO track to run alongside the Ontario Line. There has been no study which examines the cumulative effects of 6 lanes of rail traffic (4 GO tracks and 2 OL tracks) and associated health and environmental impact.

• Construction before the release of Environmental Impact Assessment effectively removes the public from the decision-making process.

• Ontario is spending an extra $1.8 billion to put the Eglinton Crosstown underground along a divided road in a sparsely populated suburban area, while refusing to consider the impact of running a rail highway above ground through a dense, residential neighbourhood.

5. Federal leadership (federal government specific arguments)

• The 2015 Canadian Transportation Act Review recommends that “the federal government use infrastructure funding leverage” to support “the relocation of rail infrastructure outside of dense urban centres” and “safer alternatives.”

• ‘Early works’ construction without the benefit of a completed environmental assessment and public consultation breach a federal funding requirement.

• The latest Funding Agreement stipulates “no site preparation, vegetation removal or construction will occur for a Project … until Canada is satisfied that the federal requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act … are met.”

Health Canada recommends “health assessment needs to be integrated in [Environmental Assessment].”

• As a signatory to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, federal government has an international obligation to honour integrated approaches to sustainable infrastructure endorsed by UN Environment: Incorporate stakeholder consultation and public participation from the outset.




Email addresses to be considered for your letters:

Federal

Hon. Catherine McKenna,

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

infc.minister-ministre.infc@canada.ca

Provincial

Hon. Caroline Mulroney,

Minister of Transportation

caroline.mulroney@pc.ola.org

City of Toronto:

Mayor John Tory

mayor_tory@toronto.ca


Suggestion to CC our representatives as well:

Julie Dabrusin Julie.Dabrusin@parl.gc.ca

Peter Tabuns Tabunsp-co@ndp.on.ca

Paula Fletcher councillor_fletcher@toronto.ca