Ontario Construction News staff writer
Metrolinx has decided to abandon plans to construct a GO Transit railyard in the Don Valley and has chosen a new site in a light industrial area in North York.
The decision was released in a statement last week, along with details about the new location on the Richmond Hill GO Line, near York Mills Road and Leslie Street. The previously proposed site was on the old rail line that lies next to the Don Valley Parkway and underneath the Prince Edward Viaduct, which connects Bloor Street to Danforth Avenue.
The new chosen site is close enough to Union Station and large enough to contain the facility. Also, it is outside of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) regulated flood plains and has fewer community and environmental impacts than the previously proposed site.
“We consult with communities with all the projects that we do. This project isn’t any different.”
In the statement on its website, Metrolinx said it will no longer pursue planning and design work for the Don Valley site. Community members were opposed to the original site for the layover facility because of concerns that it would damage an environmentally sensitive area of the valley. The decision follows a rally and a petition against the proposal.
“Moving forward, engagement with Indigenous Nations and stakeholders about feasibility and due diligence work will continue to be carried out on the new location to finalize design, property requirements, schedule and operations for the on-corridor works project.
“Metrolinx is committed to working closely with Indigenous Nations with established and credibly asserted Aboriginal and treaty rights asserted, the City of Toronto and the TRCA to engage on the new identified location and reduce any potential impacts,” the statement concluded.
To enable rail service increases during design and construction of the new layover, the Rosedale Siding (located between Bayview Avenue and the Don Valley Parkway) will be used temporarily to stage GO trains during the day. GO Trains will be staged at the Rosedale Siding for about two hours in the morning peak period, and another two hours in the afternoon peak period.